Being in a pastor's family comes with meeting other pastors, meeting evangelists and missionaries as well. It also comes with meeting funeral directors and people who are grieving. I came to see that one of the terrific things about being a pastor is impacting people at very key points in their lives: births, baby dedications, hospitalizations, marriages, funerals, etc. During these key times, many people are open to being helped and are very open to the things of God.
I remember sometimes, my father would have me help him. As young boy I wanted to do what I could to show my dad I loved him and would enjoy when he asked me to help him. (Of course not always, there were times that I didn't obey my parents well.) I remember helping him with several funerals. One time, in particular, he told me to go to the casket and feel the person to experience what a dead person felt like. I don't recall being scared, I had been taught that was just the shell, that the real person, who lived inside, was not there. I reached into the casket and touched the person's hand. It was hard and cold. It didn't feel like a person who was alive. He told me, "look at his legs, how they are stretched out and he has shoes on. He's dressed nice so that people will remember him looking handsome." I recall my father listening intently to the mourners, praying with them and being friendly with them. He was there when people need comfort. He was there when people usually are most receptive to looking at their own mortality. He was there when many people want to talk about God.
What did I learn from my dad about death?
Death is a time where we can be of help to people. People need us to be there for them. They don't need to be ignored during the time of loss. Death is not to be feared. What really matters is the person's soul. Death can be a time when the mourners are making important decisions about how they want to live.