We are gathered here to bid farewell to Irene who was a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt, and friend to many people. It is natural to have a complicated range of feelings at such a time as this. I know that when my own mother passed away a few years ago I somehow felt that even though she was advanced in years and very ill her life should never come to an end. So, when the end finally does come the feelings pour out. We feel grief because someone who was part of our lives has been taken from us. We might feel regret because of harsh words spoken without the chance for reconciliation. We might have missed a chance to say, "I love you" one last time.
These feelings might be unbearable except for two things. First of all, we can remember the gift of Irene's life. We remember all of the good things that made our lives better for her being there. I hope that after this short service you will have a chance to share these happy memories at the luncheon. Finally, we take comfort in our belief as Christians that life for Irene is changed not ended. We believe that God in his mercy will receive her and welcome her into a place of happiness and peace. So we continue our service with a short prayer.