Sunday, April 03, 2011

Earl James Miles, Sr.

 

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Earl’s father passed away Saturday, March 26, 2011. It was sudden, but not unexpected. He had been in the hospital due to some pain and swelling in his legs and then was being treated for congestive heart failure. He also was having some digestion difficulty and when they ran an upper GI test, they discovered that he had a condition of the stomach which was basically rendering his stomach muscles useless. But they were able to put him on some medication and they sent him Friday to a “skilled nursing facility” to regain his strength so he could come home. He spent Friday night there, ate some breakfast Saturday morning and took his medicine and then was having some difficulty breathing. He never made it to the ER.

The service was held on Wednesday, March 30th and we were grateful to be able to attend as a family. It was a bitter-sweet day. There was a “family viewing” at Earl’s parents’ church (Don Avenue Baptist) from 8 – 9 AM. Earl Sr.’s casket was at the front of the church, surrounded by many beautiful flowers and plants that had been sent to the family. He was laid out in a baby blue casket with the most gorgeous red roses on top. Everyone said he looked very good for being as sick as he had been. Earl and I gave the children the option of viewing “PaPa” or not, but they all opted to “see” him. I think it was a good thing all in all. He looked peaceful, but you could definitely tell that his spirit wasn’t there. The body was just a shell. It was a good time to talk about this “earthly tent” that we dwell in and to be reminded that this is not “the end”. There is something much more than just our bodies that make up “us” and when our bodies are done, our spirit continues on. We are glad to know that PaPa’s spirit is in heaven with Jesus. It was also healthy, I think, because the rest of the the morning was spent visiting with people and the kids played in the church (as much as we would let them). Death wasn’t something to be afraid of. They watched people cry. They heard the stories and saw people laugh.

At 9 AM, friends and extended family began to arrive to pay their respects. Then at 1 PM the funeral service was held there in the church. Rita, Sonya, Earl, I and the children sat on the front row. Three different pastors spoke and there were a few special songs . . . Amazing Grace being one that Earl Sr. specifically had requested. A lot of funny stories were told. A lot of laughing was heard. Tears were shed. Memories recalled. A dear man missed.

At the end of the service, the guests filed past the casket and then greeted each of us (the family) . . . {couldn’t stop those tears . . . }. Then the family was left alone to say our “last good-byes”. The children all cried, except for Jonathan (I hadn’t stopped), and it was a sweet time. We walked out of the church and got into the van where we followed behind the hearse which was escorted by police to the cemetery on Range Road. Earl Sr.’s body was laid to rest in a beautiful mausoleum after a brief internment ceremony. (The pall bearers all wore red suspenders in honor of Earl. Very fun!)

Then it was back to the church to partake in a reception full of food that only the south knows how to cook! It was a foretaste of that glorious feast that those of us trusting in Jesus will partake in one day.

Earl Sr. has shed his mortal body and has put on immortality. No longer is he constrained by a body with severe limitations. longer is he hindered by sight that sees not the whole picture and plan. No longer does he exist full of unmet expectations and unfulfilled hopes. His soul has been completely satisfied. He knows what it is to be perfectly loved. He is in the presence of the Lord and his soul is at rest.

Those of us left behind . . .will miss him greatly.

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Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up on victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”

4 comments:

Barbara said...

Sweet...

Grace, Hope and Joy said...

Thank you for posting this. It gave me a feel for being there since we couldn't be there in person. Uncle Earl was such a sweet man and will be greatly missed.

Tiffany said...

So sorry for your loss, Earl & Jan. May the peace of Jesus comfort you all, and what a dear testimony of rejoicing in our Savior and his complete "healing" of Earl's father.

Abby said...

oops, that was actually me, Abby. :-)

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