Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Dorothy Tronnes funeral

The Funeral Liturgy for
Dorothy Tronnes
(June 19, 1023-January 9, 2016) 
Hanson-Runsvold Funeral Home
Fargo, North Dakota
January 12, 2016

+ As I said earlier, it is a real honor for me to be here and to officiate at this service. As I said at the beginning of the service, I am a cousin of the family. Dorothy has been a very important and vital part of our family for a very long time.

I loved Dorothy, as most of us did who are here today. And I am going to miss her very, very much. Although we all knew this day was coming, although there is a relief that Dorothy isn’t suffering anymore, I gave to say: this is hard. I don’t want to be saying goodbye to Dorothy today. Yes, I know she had a long life. Yes, I know she was tired. I know it was time for her to go.  But, it’s still so hard. And I am going to miss her very much.

I will miss so much about her. Every time I would visit her, she would always be so happy to see me. She would brighten right up when I would I come in to see her. And I enjoyed that. I have always been very grateful for that.  And I will miss that.

As I said, I, like everyone here,  will miss Dorothy dearly. I will miss her laugh—that smile of hers. I will miss her great sense of humor.  And I will miss her strength.

I know that her life wasn’t always easy at times. There were set-backs in her life.  But, she was a great example to us of how, even despite hardships, even despite difficulties, these hard things in life won’t defeat us.  She could be tough and very strong. And that always impressed me.  And we saw that strength in her dying as well.

I can tell you that she was prepared. Last Thursday I went to Villa Maria and spent some time with her. I prayed with her, I anointed her and just spent some time with her.  And I have no doubt that, as she was making that transition to the next life, we was fully prepared. She knew what awaited her after this life. And it did not frighten her.

As she approached the end of her life, she knew she was loved—and loved deeply—here, by her family and all of us who loved her. But she was ready to go and be with her one, true love—Oscar.

And that is where she is right now. She is there. She left here surrounded in love and she arrived there surrounded in love.

That thought comforts us today. For us who did love her, this is still hard. But, as difficult as it is right now,  the reality is this. We are saying goodbye, yes. But it is only a temporary goodbye. It is a goodbye until we see each other again. Dorothy, I can tell you, had a very deep faith and belief that we would, one day, all see each other again.

The scripture readings we have today speak clearly to us. Our reading from Proverbs could have been written with Dorothy very much in mind. For some reason, we don’t hear this particular scripture very often. And I don’t  understand why, because I think it’s beautifully. 
In it, the author writes,

“An excellent wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.
She dressed herself with strength
    and makes her arms strong.”

That’s Dorothy, if I ever heard it!  A bit later we hear,

“Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.”

Dorothy was certainly clothed in strength and dignity—and anyone who is certainly does not fear the future or anything this life can throw at us.  A bit later we hear,

“She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her…”

I don’t think I need to add much to that. Anyone who knew Dorothy knew she definitely did not eat the bread of idleness. And no one is praising more loudly today than her children. And yes, even Oscar today is praising Dorothy.
Yes, this was the Dorothy we knew and loved. And the consolation we can take away today is that the God she knew has now gathered all that was good and strong and joyful about her into the land of unending Light. All that joy, all that love, all that life that was contained within her—all of that is not gone today. It is not lost.

Today, all the good things that Dorothy Tronnes was to us—that woman of life and strength and joy—all of that is not lost. It is not gone. Rather all of that is alive and dwells now in a place of beauty and Light inaccessible. All of that dwells in a place of peace and joy, where sorrow and pain are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.  In a place in which, there never again be any more tears. Dorothy will never cry another tear again.

Sadly, we’re not at that point yet in our own lives. We will shed more tears. Certainly today and tomorrow we will shed more tears.

But, for us who are left, we know that that place awaits us as well. That place of light and joy awaits each of us as well.  And we will have the opportunity to dwell there.
Yes, I am brutally honest today. I will miss Dorothy very, very much. We will all miss her and will feel her loss for a long time to come. But, on this day in which we bid her this temporary goodbye, let us also be thankful. Let us be thankful for this woman whom God has been gracious to let us know and to love.  Let us be thankful for her example to us.  Let us be thankful for all that she has taught us and continues to teach us.  Let us be grateful for the love she felt for us and the love we felt for her. And let us be grateful for all she has given us in our own lives.

Into paradise may the angels lead you, Dorothy.
At your coming may the martyrs receive you, and bring you into the holy city Jerusalem.

Amen.


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