Yes it is. And perhaps it's related to how many people show up at a
funeral. In the Army I was the officer-in-charge (OIC) of more than 30
military burial ceremonies. Taps, the 21-gun salute, the folded flag, the
speech to the widow while presenting the flag. Some funerals had 200+
mournful people crowding around the canopy. Several other ceremonies had 4
or fewer. One was just the widow, and we planted one (apparently) mean old
cuss that had *zero* come to send him off.
I realized I would like to live my life in such a way as to have at least a
few people that will make the effort to come to my funeral because they'll
miss me. ;-) You know, people that would come even if a luncheon is not
BTW the last funeral I did was the worst. It was always a job for me to get
"psyched up" to get down on a knee, make and keep eye contact, present the
flag, and say the required speech without it sounding like a memorized
speech -- without getting all broken up myself. There were about 40 who
made the journey to the cemetary so the deceased was important to quite a
few people. The clergy finished their part, the flag was raised over the
casket, 21 shots were fired, taps sounded (as usual several people started
sobbing), the flag was folded, the NCOIC handed it to me, I walked over to
the widow, got down on a knee, looked into her eyes and saw:
"Damn, dude, let's get this old fart IN THE GROUND and go PARTY. I have
insurance money to spend!"
THAT jolted me. I was steeled to convey sympathy and the country's
appreciation to a grieving, weeping widow. I wasn't prepared for someone
who obviously didn't give a rip. The regulation speech got flushed from my
brain and what I said wasn't much more than, "Here. This flag is for you."
15 years later I still remember that burial and wonder about the family.
Was she a 2nd wife who only married for money. Lots of people were mourning
but she wasn't one of them.
Having recently dealt with the death of some close friends in the last
year or so, and watched as my best friend successfully dodged the
bullet of a brain anurysm (sp?), I hear you. But you also bring to
mind a quote I heard at a retirement dinner for a friend over 15 years
ago (and yes, he is still with us):
"We should honor while we can the vertical man, as we seem to honor
none but the horizontal one."
This keeps me focused on making sure that from time to time I tell
those who I have grown to appreciate, respect and love that I'm really
glad to know them and to have them around, and to thank them for their
friendship. Oftentimes when someone passes unexpectedly, you have
such words left unsaid, to your regret.
Sorry for your loss, Charlie.
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