There we were, my stepmother, my sister with  her husband, me and my wife, gathered around Jos the deacon in the  Saint Michael’s parish office in Keerbergen. On this cold Sunday evening, we prepare for Dad’s funeral scheduled for the following Wednesday.  It had been a while since I actively participated in the preparation of a catholic ceremony. I had read the guidelines to prepare the funeral, and frankly, I was a bit concerned as I was wondering whether these guidelines would allow us to celebrate dad’s life.

My concerns evaporated as soon as Jos opened the conversation on the first phase of the ceremony, which calls for repentance. “The guidelines tell us to ask for the forgiveness for the sins of the deceased. I propose that we don’t do that. I don’t think this is the moment to establish a laundry list of Louis’ sins. Shall we rather focus on his strengths?” We look at  each other, surprised as  we hadn’t anticipated Jos’ question! And so, together we reflect on my father’s strengths and build the ceremony around them.

What happened, then, during the repentance phase at the funeral? We did not focus on Dad’s shortcomings, but rather on our own. Jos invited us to ask for  forgiveness for all the occasions when we did not appreciate enough my father’s strengths. I then realized such occasions were many! Here I was, promoting SALT around the world, but falling short so many times in my approach to my own father!

People say that I am Dad’s carbon copy. I always took this comment as pertaining to my physical appearance. But as we  proceeded with the celebration of Dad’s life, it dawned on me how many of his strengths he had transmitted to me and possibly through me to others…. This realisation made me pronounce the final farewell (attached) with a sense of peaceful joy. See%20you%20again%2C%20Papa.pdf.

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Comment by Irvine Sibindi on July 30, 2019 at 7:25pm

Very inspiring ... the value of SALT at a personal level , and how we can learn to appreciate those around us. When our loved ones feel appreciated , our bond with them gets stronger!

Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on April 14, 2019 at 11:00am

This is a lesson on how we can practice SALT in our own lives, with our own family. Even in this loss you have found a way to appreciate.

My dad passed over some years ago. He was my best friend. When I think of the good things he did it fills me with joy and helps heal my grief in losing him. 

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