Taking small children to funerals is always chancy. When the funeral is in another state, you don't always have options, though.
It was 22 years ago in the middle of winter when Uncle George went to meet his Maker. He'd always been a practical joker and insisted on being buried in his favorite red bow tie. His sons and son-in-law had all acquired red bow ties of their own for the occasion.
Having no nearby relatives with whom to leave them, we took our 2 and 4 year old sons with us to the funeral. We joined the family at the pre-service viewing and when the boys got fidgety, I left my husband with his cousins and took them outside. My oldest began greeting the guests with a cheery, "Uncle George is dead. Go see him!"
Uncle George's sons thought it was hysterical, but when one of the other attendees paled in response to the greeting, I thought it might be wiser to take the kids to the nearest McHappy place until closer to time for the service.
At the reception afterwards, they ran and played with Uncle George's grandchildren and visited with the rest of the relatives having a delightful time. When my oldest returned to preschool a few days later, I told his teacher that he'd been to a funeral, but he thought the whole thing had been a big party.
Today we attended the funeral of one of his sons. No red bow ties this time, and there were more than a few tears shed. Overall, though, the tone was one of joy for the deceased, much as Uncle George's funeral had been.
The pastor who preached the funeral sermon spoke of his sorrow for the widow who would be without her husband of 53 years and his sorrow for the friends and family who would also miss him - but of his overwhelming joy for his very dear friend. His joy is based in the promise of the Resurrection - in his belief, shared by most of those present, of a glorious eternity bought for us by the death and resurrection of our Savior.
We will miss our friend and cousin, but we live in the hope of seeing him again one day.