The Funeral Home Called

“The funeral home called and the outfit that Mom picked doesn’t fit her. Can you come help me choose something else out of her closet?”

clothesBut her closet, it did not hold any outfit that would fit her discarded tent right now, so my friend Dave and I went shopping.

Dave knew what he did not want for his mom, and I so wanted to get just the right thing that would look good on that frail, earthly body she just left, something that her loved ones would remember with tenderness. So we looked, and looked and looked, but today’s fashions just did not seem to fit Dave’s 80-yr-old tender Mom. The outfits were too loud, too square, too thin, too see-though, too bright, too pale, too violent. And Toni, she had been a lady with style and soft mannerism, and the most beautiful smile, and none of what we saw reflected who she was.

And after a while, my heart got somewhat apprehensive–what if we couldn’t find anything?

“Lord, please,” I whispered, “lead us to the right place.”

And the Lord, He reminded me that He knew Toni like no one else did, that she was the apple of His eye, and He knew what would look good on that discarded body, and what would cause her family to be at peace with their last look at her. And He reminded me that He is good at fullness of provision, like the wedding where He changed the water into wine so that the groom would not be embarrassed, and the fish that held a coin big enough to pay taxes, and the baskets full of leftover bread after the disciples served the people–because He knew they were hungry too. So I took a deep breath.

And then, from the corner of my eye, I saw an old store with no traffic in it at all. We perused the racks. Dave found a very simple, elegant purple floral blouse with a little shell to go with it. It looked like Toni. We both knew it would be perfect for her.


The saleslady, thrilled with customers, was all over us, doing her best to convince us that her prices were the best, and that we could exchange anything we did not like for the next thirty days. Dave and I looked at each other and almost giggled; this outfit, it was going into eternity. It was just a send-off for the next chapter of Toni’s life. We added a scarf so we could hide the little hole in Toni’s neck.

Her body looked beautiful in the casket. The purple made her gorgeous face stand out.

And  my heart, it swelled with joy. Because my God, He is a God who provides, down to the right burial clothes. Ans as I looked at Toni’s discarded tent, I remembered how she loved to sing, “Jesus loves me, this I know.” Indeed, Toni, Jesus loves you. And me.

Cultivating Thankfulness with Ann Voskamp

one-thousand7#892 The privilege of picking Toni’s burial clothes

#893 My broken toe healing well

#894 The sense of God with me during the day

Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 HomeSDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing HomePlay Dates with GodMonday Musings, Hear it on Sunday,Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s StoryInto the WordIn and Around Mondays,OYHT, Gratituesday,Titus2Tuesdays, ExtraordinayLessons from IvyDenise in BloomSweet BlessingsFaith Filled Friday, Finding JoyWholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word,



  1. OK this made me all weepy. It has been 2 years since my mom passed and finding and outfit for her was the most difficult part. For opposite reasons. Her health and issues caused her to swell with fluid and many of her outfits were now too small. I hated that part. Hated it. But in the end she did look beautiful, and everyone had peace with it, as best they could. I am glad you found a perfect outfit for your mother in law. Sounds as if she were very lucky to have you as a daughter in law.


  2. This post is a beautiful reflection of the love and respect you had for your mother-in-law. Thank you for sharing. Have a blessed week!


  3. My sister and I also had to go clothes shopping for our deceased sister. We too went from store to store. We too were starting to get discouraged. We too found something in the last store we went in to. We too found something in a soft purple…we too needed a scarf for the tiny hole in her neck. She was 47 years old. This post was so beautifully written. Brought back some tender memories for me. Thank you.


  4. I loved this post! As I was reading your words recent memories of my mom’s passing entered my thoughts but you had such a beautiful ending that it was all okay! Your words blessed me today. Thank you, Mary!


  5. Oh Barb, what a beautiful post. How blessed Dave was to have you help him in such a difficult time. And I love how God provided for you by blessing that little lady in her shop. He sees all, doesn’t he? Thanks for linking up to Testimony Tuesday today!


  6. Although I still have my mom, I have precious memories of God’s provision in difficult times. While I was out of the country, my own sweet mother-in-law sent flowers for me to my grandfather’s funeral. I appreciate the reminder.


  7. Barbara, how this brought me to tears this morning. We buried my mother-in-law on Monday morning. You are such a blessing to help Tom dress his mom beautifully for her exit from this earth. I went to bed Monday night & tweeted that I was going to bed without a single doubt…Jesus loves me, this I know. So to read those very words written by you in this post, even further drove that precious truth home this morning. Thank you for sharing this post. Thank you for letting God use you in ways you probably do not even realize. Blessings!


  8. This was a beautifully touching story. My dad just died in January, and one of the hardest things was picking out his clothes. We finally decided on the outfit that he would wear when he felt like he was *dressing up*. We tucked a comb in his shirt pocket, just like he liked it, and a few notes in his pants pockets. Finally, my cousin put a little wooden car that my dad had made next to him in the casket. I thought that was the perfect touch.

    But the thing that I will remember the most is the fact that my dad is now clothed in white robes of righteousness because of God’s loving gift of salvation.

    THAT is an outfit for eternity!!



  9. Thank you for this lovely post. My mother is 86, and we know we could lose her any time now. She would be very picky about her outfit….my sisters and I will do this when the time comes, and I will remember you….


  10. Barbara,

    It’s nice to be back here again. I’m hopping over belatedly from Ann’s link up.

    Wow, that’s not a story you here everyday. How meaningful that you and Dave were able to shop together as an act of love for his mom. And how thoughtful of God to help you find the right thing — “Because my God, He is a God who provides, down to the right burial clothes.” He is a sweet God, isn’t he?

    Thank you for sharing this story with us. It points to Jesus and his kindness to us.

    Jennifer Dougan


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