Joseph Levern Laurie Blais
July 3, 2021
By Curtis L. Blais
Thank you for being here.
On this day, July 3, 2021, one day before what would have been his 75th birthday, we gather as his immediate family to lay to rest the remains of Joseph Levern Laurie Blais.
This will not be like any other funerals that you may have attended. Normally there is a church service with friends, acquaintances, and family present. Everyone dressed in black. A minister does their thing. A procession is held, and a graveside service is performed. Then a meal where all of the friends and family can gather to chat and reminisce and see people that they have not seen for a long time. And then slowly everyone goes back to their lives and the day is over.
Today - it is just us. Dad’s immediate family. His inner circle. And it is like this not because this is what WE (or I) wanted - but because this is what HE wanted. And I gave him my word that I would honor his request.
About 4 or 5 years ago, Dad and I went for lunch to Wendy’s which sort of became the place we would go and talk business. At that lunch, among other end-of-life things we talked about, he described to me what this day would look like. I had no idea that it would come as soon as it has.
He was explicit. He wanted nothing fancy. No event. No invited guests. Just us. Those of you here today. I tried to convince him that this day would not be for him, but for those who wanted, maybe even needed, to say goodbye and that maybe he should reconsider. But he would not relent. This - is what he wanted. Simple. Intimate. Us. Exactly as it was described to me.
And so here we are. His immediate family. Together.
Dad had a strong faith in God. He believed that Jesus, the son of God, came to this earth as fully God and fully man, lived a sinless life, died on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for all who would accept Him, and rose again on the third day – conquering death forever. I know he hoped for that same faith for all of us here too.
Faith in God was important to him.
2 Cor 5:6-8 “So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”
Dad would have wanted today - not to be a day of mourning - but a day of celebration. A day to remember the good things that he had done, and allowing all those other things to lay to rest here with him, now and for eternity.
He would have wanted us to carry on living our lives, being a light in what seems like an ever darker and darker world. To be builders – not breakers. To live every day with integrity and compassion. To forgive – really – truly – forgive – in the same way Christ forgives us.
As I look back on what now I know would be the last few months of Dad’s life, there was something a little different about him. It was almost as though he had come to terms with things in his life that he had been struggling with for a long time. As if he had some long-standing questions – finally answered. And it brought a kind of peace to his spirit. And for that - I am thankful.
I think we would all give just about anything to have more time with Dad. I miss him. Every day I think about him. But a worse thought would be to watch the only man I would refer to as my hero, slowly deteriorate over time. He loved to be actively working in the garden, making wine, or using his boat to go fishing. He was a builder. And he loved to spend time with his family. Especially his grandkids. And those things he loved to do were getting harder and harder for him to enjoy. Dad did not complain very often – but he was struggling with his health. I could hear it in the way he described getting older.
Dad has fought the good fight, He has finished the race, and he has kept the faith. And now - there is in store for him the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to him. His physical life here on earth may now be over, but his eternal life is just beginning. I can only imagine the building project they have him working on up there. He is probably already giving the electricians a hard time.
The urn on the table here is not dad. It is what remains of his physical body after he was taken home to heaven. The essence of who Dad was and the time we spent with him will live on forever in our memories. And when it is our time to step into eternity - we will see him again.
Love you Dad.