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What Is Happening (Continued)

Posted on March 31st, 2005

Wow this has been a completely crazy past few days, and I just have to write about it.

I wrote before that I was going to try and attend the visitation and funeral for Jessica’s father. Thankfully, I was able to arrange everything so that I could attend both and am I ever glad that I did. The trip had several purposes: for my own education (as I have never been to anything of the sort before), for keeping Jasmine company (as she would have fallen asleep or gone crazy driving on her own), and, most importantly, to show my support for the Michielsens.

I really didn’t know what to expect. In my head, I had several different ideas of what a visitation would look like, and many conceptions of what a funeral would look like. Most were sombre and involved a lot of weeping and mourning. Now that I have been to one, I have a much better idea of what it could be like.

I was so glad to be at the visitation. Many people commented about how great it was for us to be willing to come from Waterloo to pay our respects. I couldn’t help but say how great it was for us to able to be there. It was embodied with my interaction with Jessica. The look on her face spoke of hurt and sadness as much as it spoke of happiness and gratitude. But the bad seemed to disappear when we gave each other a big, long hug. I think it meant a lot to see some of her friends from the Embassy there. I’ll say it again: it really was great for us to be able to make it.

After the visitation, I met up with Jasmine, with whom I was attending the funeral. We arranged it so that I would crash at her place for the night, go to the funeral, then head back to Waterloo together. She said that I ought to visit her sometime and this was a reasonably good opportunity. Granted, it could have been under much better circumstances, but hey. So Monday night was the first time that I ever stayed at a farm. I’m glad that it didn’t reek (although, apparently, it will in about a month’s time) like other farms that I have visited (or passed by while driving).

Having spent some time with most of her family now, I can see how some traits of her personality are the way that they are. It was a little weird to witness a family with really well-developed relationships first hand, but I can completely see why she values it so much. Part of me is a little jealous. But, on the other hand, I am really happy for her; she has a cool family.

After getting very little sleep (the combination of going to bed really late and having the awfully annoying habit of waking up insanely early when I’m not in my own bed is not good for business), I got a quick tour around the farm. What a cute home. One day, I’ll ride one of those horses.. one day. But with time ticking, we had to make haste to get on the road. So, without eating, we took off.

The funeral was very tasteful and meaningful; it celebrated his life and marvelled at the wonderful impact that he has had in the communities around him. There was a lot of talk about his character, his deeds, and his faith. I did not know him well (in fact, I only met him once), and I was so astonished to see how many people that he touched. There were so many people at both the visitations and the funeral, and stories of how he affected many more.

At the very heart of the funeral ceremony was a concentration on Jack Michielsen’s faith. One of the reflections talked about the passion and intensity with which he pursued God. Indeed, he seemed to have embraced his faith very quickly, and it really blossomed. Jasmine made a comment afterwards that, because of his faith, there was a very good reason to celebrate. Although he lost his fight with cancer, God can claim victory over death by raising Jack to Heaven. She said that, because we know that he was a man of faith, we know where he is now. Part of the conversation dealt with funerals for non-believers and how difficult it must be because there isn’t the same confidence with their fates. No wonder the Michielsens managed to smile through this. Rest in peace, Jack Michielsen. We’ll be praying for you and your family.

We didn’t end up sticking around for the committal. It took a lot of debating back and forth because both of us insisted on being indecisive. But it turns out that, when brains can’t figure it out, it doesn’t hurt to listen to the stomach: we were starving! We ended up in Stratford (a cute little town) before we sat down to satiate our hunger. As we were leaving, Kat, Sarah, and Hannah were about to walk in. What were the chances?!

They suggested to look around the town and, since it was such a really nice day, I had no objections to doing just that. What an awesome way to spend time that should have been spent in class! It was so nice out that Jasmine spontaneously suggested that we go to Dairy Queen to pick up some ice cream. It was a good idea until we actually got it. After fumbling to stop it from overflowing (it was melting faster than we could eat it), I remembered how full I was. From that point onward, each scoop brought me ever closer to the brink of vomitting. Needless to say, we ate less than half the ice cream we bought. That’ll be a really funny memory for years to come.

So we make our way back and I get home at around 5:30. I slept right up until class, went to class, slept in class, and came home refreshed. After doing some work and chatting, Dominique (one of the residents here) came by to use my computer to submit an assignment. Sure, no problem. This was 2:00am. We talk until 5:30am.

It turns out that there was a lot of things that got to her recently, and one of the things was her faith. I knew that she was Catholic, and that she was involved with a few good clubs on campus. Without going into much detail, I found out that she was having a lot of the same struggles that I had only a couple of years ago. So I listened patiently and offered the little pieces of advice and information when I could. I tried so hard to make it clear, though, that I didn’t have the answers. Because I really don’t, and I don’t want to come across like I had it all “figured out.” That was well-receieved, and I think that there will be other conversations in the future. It still surprises me to find out how much she stresses and worries (like me!). I hope I helped.

I’ll end off the post by exclaiming that my hair is blue again! Yes, I realize that it was dyed some three weeks ago, but showering and whatever else did a mean job of making it fade. So I was convinced to dye it blue again (instead of the black that I had originally wanted). Thanks to Jasmine for convincing me and being my hairdresser again πŸ™‚ I think it looks awesome.

Wow, this has been a long one. I think I’ll be up for a while longer; I’m headed downstairs to prepare for a big Board of Governors’ meeting in the residence tomorrow. I’ll post again soon. Take care of yourselves! πŸ˜€

2 Responses to “What Is Happening (Continued)”

  1. Jasmine Says:

    Hey, thanks for the nice comments about my family and my home. It’s always nice to hear good things about the people you love.
    I enjoyed hanging out with you yesterday as well. Thanks for keeping me company on the drive. Also, I have to say that I really like your blue hair. It suits you.

  2. Justin Says:

    Ahh it turns out that the webpage error got fixed sooner than I thought!

    Well you’re certainly welcome for my comments. I got a good vibe from your entire family and I hope that I didn’t embarrass myself too much haha πŸ™‚

    The blue was a really, really good call. I’ll never doubt you again.

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