Saturday, April 10, 2010

Fond Farewell

I said my final farewell to my Father who we laid to rest at a National VA cemetery yesterday. It was a very small affair as my Father, despite his unquenchable thirst for social contact with acquaintances, had unfortunately alienated himself from closer friends and family in the last dozen or so years. Nevertheless, I didn't feel as if it took away from the moments that we all shared to say goodbye.

I had to say that the Air Force honor guard that opened my Father's service was breathtaking.  Two of the soldiers did a flag fold while another played taps on a bugle in the distance. Most eyes were filled with tears.  At the finale, one of the soldiers presented me with the flag. This may sound a bit cheesy, but during that moment my heart was so full of pride for my country and for my Father and for the young, nervous soldiers standing before me. At once I felt lucky to be American (not that I hadn't before, despite our marred reputation worldwide). I know my Father loved this country and it was nothing less than an honorable tribute to a wonderful man.

My Father had requested no funeral, so instead I led the way in telling a synopsis of his life story and myriad stories from friends and family who couldn't make it all the while I stood behind a triad podium decorated with pictures, flowers, belt buckles and his gorgeous urn.  Mr. S added a few stories before everyone congregated at the front. In short, it was as beautiful of a short service as I could have planned.

Most people followed us back to our house about 40 minutes away where we served beer and English food (bangers and mash) as a tribute to my Father's love for England and his time stationed there (and his English heritage).  I spent much of those first moments letting G meet family and friends, showing a video tribute I made, and telling stories with my Uncle (dad's brother) who is the last surviving sibling of 13 (and no, that's not a typo and obviously someone wasn't infertile).  All in all, it was a perfect, cloudless spring day, a day my Father would have loved. It was a good day.  It was a day of tears and stories and laughter and memories and good times. It was a day I will never forget.

Farewell Daddy. I hope you are nothing less than honored by our farewell. Until we meet again...

8 comments:

Suzanne said...

I'm so glad you were finally able to lay your father to rest. It sounds like a beautiful ceremony.

mybumpyjourney said...

That sounds like a wonderful tribute!!! You brought tears to my eyes describing the they way you honored him. :) He was blessed. {{HUGS}}

Another Dreamer said...

(*hugs*) it sounds like it was perfect.

Lost in Space said...

I know those feelings you describe so well with the military service, flag, and the sounds of Taps coming through loud and clear. A bundle of pride, grief, and sense of awe all wrapped into one.

I am proud that you were able to speak about your dad and share so much about him. I was in no position to do so and know the strength it had to take to get through this.

Remembering him with you and sending hugs as you continue to grieve your loss...

Sarang said...

Shelby, the service for your father was beautiful. J and I were honored to be there. You did a wonderful job sharing your memories and the poem you crafted for your Dad was such a loving tribute. I, too, felt a sense of pride witnessing the flag fold and Taps playing. Thank you for letting us share this time with you.

And the Irish wake after the service? What a real celebration of your Dad's life...from the homemade video to the beers lifted back at him in cheers at the end of the video.

Thinking of you...

Courtney said...

Sounds like a beautiful service. Very touching.

Angelwingsbaby said...

It sounds like it was very nicely done, what a wonderful tribute to his life.((hugs))

Martha said...

I am so sorry for the loss your much loved and missed Dad.