When my husband died, my son sang at his funeral  service.  He sang this song.  This is what he said before he sang it:

The afternoon before my father passed, he watched a broadcast of PBS’s Memorial Day concert with my mother. I was watching the same broadcast from home. My mom reports that he was particularly touched by the concert, which brought him to tears several times. The concert included this song, sung by Jean Valjean in the stage version of Les Miserables.

Les Miz is the story of Valjean’s quest for redemption, the imperfections of human justice, and the perfection of divine justice. It is about a man who learns compassion, and who ultimately teaches his stepchild, his employees, his fellow citizens, and even the story’s protagonist to love by example.

That is the way I will always remember my father.

Bring Him Home is sung by Valjean as he contemplates the possible death of his daughter’s suitor. When my father first spoke with me about death in my youth, he did so very matter-of-factly. He told me that he wasn’t scared of death—his gentle way of telling me that anyone could be taken at any moment, and that no future days are guaranteed.

My father rarely minced words, he was honest, he taught by example, and he was prepared for death.

I am so, so lucky and blessed to have two sons that my husband and I loved, raised and watched grow to strong, good men.  Each has found a love in their life.  Each has found meaningful life work.

Each life is so precious.   I thank God for my husband and for my sons.

I work everyday now with men and women who have returned from the War Zone.

They are fortunate to return and they grieve for those they left behind.

So do I. 

God on high
here my prayer
in my need
you have always been there
he is young
he’s afraid
let him rest
heaven blessed
bring him home
bring him home
bring him home
he’s like the son I might have known
if God had granted me a son
the summer’s die one by one
how soon they fly on and on

and I am old and will be gone
bring him peace
bring him joy
he is young
he is only a boy
you can take you can give
let him be let him live
if I die, let me die
let him live
bring him home
bring him home
bring him home