Monday, August 22, 2011

What a day.

8/22 : Not your usual day.

Today I served as a pallbearer which is by no means an ordinary occurrence for me. Actually I think today was the third time but I'll admit it's not one of those things you tend to keep an accurate record of. What today's experience did was put me in an interesting situation - at least it was to me.

Now I don't want this to stir any debate or discussion because I think it could - no, I'm sure it could. I've given it some pretty heavy thought and come to the conclusion that there's not a right or wrong. Actually there's likely just rights.

For several years now I have not taken part in the 'procession' that makes it's way by the open casket at a funeral. I don't go into 'the room' during funeral visitations. The term 'viewing' seems odd to me.

But I'm obviously in the minority - at least from what I've seen at quite a few funerals now. As the pew spills out into the aisle and heads toward the front I head for the back. So far I have not had a nice funeral man grab me and point me in the 'right' direction. I also have not had anyone jump out of line with me.

And that's fine. I get it. The whole 'one last look' or 'closure' thing is understandable but it's just not for me. I have a very vivid memory of the last 'viewing' I attended and that memory is forever burned in my mind. Despite the fact I have plenty of other memories of that life that was cut very short I'm constantly taken back to the vision of a lifeless body laying in a lifeless box. And I don't like it - not at all.

That was my interesting situation for today. As a pallbearer I was led to the front row of the church prior to the entrance of the family. Avoiding that one was pretty easy.

The hard part was during the 'procession.' I couldn't bow out and head upstream like I normally would. I was a pallbearer - I had to maintain formation. But I also wanted to maintain my principle. It's important to me. I'll be perfectly honest and say that avoiding the logistics of the unpleasant view was much easier than fighting the urge to take that glimpse.

I don't know what it is. There was something pulling at me to take that look. Some sort of morbid curiosity. Fortunately I was able to resist and the pleasant memory of that wonderful man remains intact - exactly as I think it should.

I'm glad it's intact. That wasn't my friend in there. It was a tired, used shell. He was gone - he had been made new. He actually looks much better than he does in my memory. Praise be to God.

8/22 : First day of school. Facebook led me to believe it was the first day of school pretty much everywhere in the civilized world. For us it meant 4 kids on three different campuses. Seems like we were dropping off kids for and hour and a half. Wait, we were.

8/22 : Dad died 11 years ago today and he is still missed greatly. But like my friend today he's been made new. Praise be to God.

8/22 : This is the day I became 'great' uncle David. Little Hadleigh turned three today. She's the daughter of my niece Corlie and nephew in law, if there is such a thing, Heath. I don't see her nearly as much as I'd like but I still take a certain amount of pride in that title.

Like I said, what a day.

1 comment:

Harold and Pat said...

Quite a day for you, dear nephew, and lots to think about. Eleven years ago yesterday is a day we'll never forget, but thank God we'll see him again. He will always be a tremendous example of how a person lives and dies with courage, strength, and humility - always giving praise to God. You are truly following in his footsteps as such a fine man. You are a blessing to your mother and him. We love you.