George and I had an unexpected spiritual experience this week. We attended the viewing for a ward member. We didn’t know either the deceased or her husband very well. We did know he is elderly and, like most widowers, will have a hard time living alone. Family was seated quietly in the Relief Society room as this good man stood by his wife’s casket to greet those who came to honor her.
I’m not exactly sure what touched both George and me so deeply: the quiet dignity of this man in mourning, the beauty of his wife now at peace, the reverence of the family watching their father fulfill his role, or just the thought of him closing the door when the family leaves and turning to face his empty home alone.
As we left, George said, “Gentle people are beautiful.”
Sometimes, less is more. We’ve attended funerals with lavish displays trumpeting the accomplishments of the deceased. Family funerals become noisy reunions when far-flung relatives catch up on each other’s lives.
Not for a long time has a simple viewing struck us with such a spiritual impact. I’m glad we didn’t stay for the service. Nothing the speakers said could have added to our experience.