Saturday, July 15, 2017

Summer 2017 - Week 6 Part II (Funeral)

July 15
Our neighbor Annie came over and did the twins hair, and we got ready for the celebration of life... except Amanda.

Today was her daughters birthday, and the party for her had been planned out weeks in advance. As much as I would have loved to have Amanda with us, I totally understood why she needed to be there at her daughters party. So we dropped Amanda off at the church next to her moms house where the party was taking place, and the 3 of us headed to my moms.

When we arrived, packed up in my moms car and drove over to the funeral parlor. I’ve been there twice before for other family members for their viewing, but I would always park on the street on the south side. Well, little did I know they have valet parking on the north side. So we pulled in and they parked the car. Then we walked inside and I handed the director, from the night before, the new DVD. He started playing it. Normally the church or building will have a program of the events that will take place during the viewing, but we had a little card with my dads picture instead with a poem on the back. I grabbed a couple of those, and we started the celebration of life.

It was packed! Normally, during a viewing, people come for a few minutes and leave. At my dads celebration of life, we had it so there would be food and drinks so everyone could enjoy it. This way, the guest could talk and not feel that if they were hungry, they would have to leave and miss anything since it was an hour and a half of visiting.

I checked on the twins every once in a while, but thankfully their Aunt Aubrey came and was keeping them entertained.

I know my family was busy visiting with guest, as I was busy myself. I felt bad that I didn’t get to say Hi or talk with everyone. Also, I’m not great at funerals. I never know what to properly say.

During the celebration, they had a person playing live classic rock music (songs from the ‘50s through the ‘80s) that we know my dad would have enjoyed. The reason why live over recorded, was that if the crowd talking was loud, he could sing a little louder. Same with if it was quiet, he could sing softer. It would be better to have someone trying to control the volume of a radio/speakers each time it changed volume of the crowd.

Around 1:30’ish, we asked my cousin Charley to close the celebration by introducing himself and did great job trying to get everyone to feel happy by having us laugh with his humor, then he would introduce everyone who was part of the closing program. My sister played “Amazing Grace” on her violin, I read the obituary that was posted on the funeral parlors website, and my two aunts told quick stories of my them that had involved them and my dad from a few years ago to when they were young. Tears were shed, but it was cool to hear these stories I’ve never heard about my dad.

The immediate family then walked into the room where my dad was, and a few officers from the Department of Corrections took a folded American flag and placed it over his coffin. Those who don’t know, even though he worked at the Utah State Prison before retiring, he had completed police academy in 1999 (that was the picture of him on graduation day, on his funeral program). He had to go through certification each year (I was told) to be able to stay an officer.

We wheeled the casket out out and through the visiting area where everyone had been, then the pallbearers (including my brother and myself) loaded the casket into the hearse. We all dispersed from the parlor, and everyone loaded up in their vehicles to meet at the cemetery a few miles away. We pulled around front to wait behind the hearse, along with two other family members vehicles, waiting for the funeral parlor to do something to the hearse (you’ll see later) and then we all drove to the cemetery.

We pulled up near the burial plot, and parked behind the hearse.

They placed the license plate from his Mustang on the hearse.

We then waited for everyone to show up by standing near the hearse. The 6 other pallbearers arrived and we all unloaded his casket and walked it over to his final resting place. I don’t remember the order of the following events, but my Uncle Gerald gave a final prayer, they gave a 9 gun salute (3 x 3), and they folded up the flag (that was placed over his casket again for the drive over) and presented it to my mom. We then said our final goodbyes by placing any flower on his casket.

The woman who conducted the fire arm salute and presenting of the flag, gave the girls each a memento of an empty bullet shell. Luckily, they were actual bullets casing with the bullet portion removed, it just had the gun powder still in it.

So after the funeral we headed back over to the funeral parlor to collect all of my dads items. After loading up our vehicles of items, we headed over to my moms house to get in casual or play clothes, and to eat a little something while I tried to remove the gun powder from the empty casing. Since I could not open the end of one them, I decided it wasn’t worth it since I started to scratch the one.

The girls mom and stepdad (Rachel and Jason) were back in town again, they came over to my moms house and picked up the twins. We all said our goodbyes, gave lots of hugs and kisses, and they headed out to head home. Summer with the twins was now over.

After the twins left, I headed back to pick up Amanda at the church. We then went back over to my grandmas house so we could meet up there and eat a meal with the entire family since it was almost evening. After we all finished eating, we all headed back over to the cemetery to see how the plot looked since they placed him in the ground. We sat/stood around chatting for a little while until it was time to call it a day with everyone.

After this....... I don’t recall the rest of the day. Now, normally, I can recall details very well. I find it funny that I could remember up until when we left the cemetery... but as Amanda pointed out to me while I’ve been constantly writing and re-writing this post, it was a very busy and sad day. Plus, as of this being posted today, it’s been 5 months since my dad passed away.

I still miss him. He was my dad. He was my teacher. He was my friend. He taught me A LOT... more than I’ll ever know he did when he was teaching me at the time. Enough to help me be a man, a husband, and a father.

Love and miss you dad.

“Listen, there is no way any true man is going to let children live around him in his home and not discipline and teach, fight and mold them until they know all he knows. His goal is to make them better than he is. Being their friend is a distant second to this.”

Victor Devlin

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