Several people requested copies of the remarks I gave at my brother's graveside service. Here they are...
If you have ever heard the song about Henry and Liza and their broken bucket, you know it is long and tedious and quickly becomes tiresome. Grief is much the same way. When we lose someone we love, regardless of how close we have been to them, there is suddenly a hole in our lives. It may be a big hole if we live with them or work with them and see them every day; it may be a tiny hole if it is a distant relative or friend from the past, but there is always a hole.
The problem with the hole is that despite the amount of faith and hope we have, there is very little we can use to plug the hole. Like the bucket, we can think of things that may help temporarily, but inevitably it will come back to the fact that what we really need to plug the hole left by the person who died is the person himself.
Nevertheless, death is a part of life. It is part of our Heavenly Father’s plan. In order to learn and grow, we must experience all the joy and sadness that makes up our earthly lives. Without these experiences, we would never know the glory that will come from holding fast to the rod and enduring to the end.
Fortunately, we are not alone in our sorrow. We can take comfort in the same words spoken to a prophet long ago, “Peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and afflictions shall be but a moment; and then, if thou endureth it well, God shall exalt thee on high…thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.”
There is no doubt in my mind that Phil endured his afflictions well. I know that as we stand here now, enduring our own afflictions, the warm hearts and friendly hands of all those who have loved him and gone on before have hailed him again and will stand by him and us until we are all reunited.