I am thankful for my bookstore’s customers. Specifically, Ken.

A couple of weeks ago, a co-worker stopped me and told me that a customer who just left asked whether I was still working at Baker Book House. She told me that the customer had told her some stories about me. At first, I was a little nervous, but since I have positive memories with most of the customers who would know my name, the worry died down a little.

“Who was it?” I asked.

“Oh,” she said, “his name was Ken.”

All worries disappeared. My memories of Ken are among my best at Baker Book House. To be honest, I can’t believe that I haven’t shared anything about him on my blog until now.

selah_hiding_placeBack when I was the music buyer for the bookstore, six to ten years ago now, Ken was a frequent and friendly shopper. I’d see him in every couple of weeks and he always bought the same thing: a stack of CDs by the group, Selah.

After his third or fourth time making the same purchase, I had to ask him what he was doing with all the Selah CDs he bought. This is when I got to know Ken a lot better.

“I buy them for the people at the cancer treatment center where my wife was treated,” he told me. “The music of Selah was a great comfort to my wife while she was undergoing treatment there. And even though she didn’t recover, she felt peace because of this music.”

“Wow,” I said.

“I have a deal with the doctors and nurses at the treatment center that I’m allowed to come in and give these CDs out as gifts whenever I want to,” he continued. “So, I pick up a few at a time as my paycheck allows and I hand them out when I can.”

That was the day that Ken started getting the ministry discount that we give to pastors whenever he bought Selah CDs.

A while later, I saw that Selah was coming to town to do a concert. I told their record label about Ken, about his love for people, and about how he was using Selah’s music to spread love and comfort. I asked if I could get Ken a couple backstage passes for him to attend the concert and meet the group. The record label jumped at the opportunity.

Ken was blown away when I told him about the tickets and the concert opportunity. He thanked me up and down, but I was just glad to be part of what Ken was doing.

When I stopped being the music buyer and moved on to marketing and helping with store events, I lost touch with Ken. So I was really glad when I heard from my co-worker that he’s still around. Mostly, I am thankful because I’m sure that Ken is still helping people where he can, and the world needs more people like him in it.

Guest Post | Comic Relief with Susie Finkbeiner

susie_finkbeinerWhile I would love to claim that the blog today is 100% my work, that would be a lie. You’d see right through it. For one thing, you are smart people. For another, Susie Finkbeiner (who did write today’s post) introduces herself within the post. And I’m glad that she does, because Susie is totally worth knowing, following, and reading. Be sure to pick up her newest book, My Mother’s Chamomile, when it comes out later this month!

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Here’s a story I hardly ever tell. But I’ll share it with you. Because, you know, you’re special. Super special because you follow Josh Mosey’s ultra fantastic blog.

My grandmothers died within days of each other. It was Spring Break of my sophomore year in college. Worst Spring Break.

Ever.

By the end of the second funeral in a week, I was exhausted. Grieving deeply. Just done.

I looked at my grandma in the casket and lost it. Completely. Fell into a total meltdown.

So, I did what all melodramatic people do in the midst of grief.

I ran.

Hands over my eyes, I ran out of the funeral chapel. Down the hall. Reason caught up with me and said, “So, uh, Susie, where are you going?”

I saw a room with couches. It looked like as good a place as any to sob. So, I went in. Sat down. Cried and cried and cried.

“Susie?” My cousin Eric stood next to me.

“Oh, Eric. It’s just so hard.”

“Um. Yeah.”

“It’s been such a terrible, horrible week.” My voice wobbled with more sobs.

“I bet.”

Now. My family isn’t all that emotionally demonstrative. I mean, I am. But not the men. They’re a bit calmer. Subdued.

But, “I bet”? Really?

“Aren’t you sad?” I asked.

“Yeah.” Eric lowered his voice. “But…um…this isn’t the place for you.”

“That is exactly how I feel, Eric. I don’t feel like I belong in this place of grief, either. No one does. But it’s part of life. You know?”

“I mean, you don’t belong here.” He looked back and forth. “I mean, you shouldn’t be in here. It’s the men’s bathroom.”

I looked up and saw that what he said was true. How had I not seen (or smelled) the urinals on the wall across from me?

***

Death itself isn’t funny. Grief doesn’t tickle. It hurts. Right?

But sometimes funny things happen to us when we grieve.

Someone remembers a story about Grandpa popping out his bridge and scaring all the grandkids.

A child (probably one of those grandkids Grandpa scared) says something WILDLY inappropriate in the middle of the funeral prayer.

We notice that the magazine on Grandma’s side table had Tom Selleck on the cover and our older sister says, “She died a happy woman”. (It was a TV Guide. Yes, that makes me old).

Sometimes, we get a little dose of comic relief.

my_mothers_chamomile

Releasing February 15

My novel My Mother’s Chamomile (releasing February 15 with WhiteFire Publishing) is about a family of funeral directors. Death and grief are their job.

I tried my very hardest to write in some humor. To give my readers a little break. A chance to breathe.

Quirky character here. Physical humor there. Sarcasm and puns and a cranky octogenarian.

I believe that in the middle of mourning, we need mercy.

Sometimes that mercy comes to us as a laugh or a funny story we’ll tell for years.

Do you have any funny funeral stories?

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Bio: Susie Finkbeiner is a wife and mother living in the beauty of West Michigan. When she’s not busy writing, she enjoys playing Scrabble with her husband, zoo trips with her kids, coffee dates with good friends, and quiet moments to read. Susie is the author of Paint Chips and My Mother’s Chamomile, both published by WhiteFire Publishing. Susie is represented by Ann Byle at Credo Communications.