Monday, November 20, 2006

The closing hymn yesterday was "Soon and very soon" (words here: ). They sang it the Sunday after Thomas's death was announced too and I ended up in tears as usual because I remembered that day. Amazingly, the teenage girl sitting behind us also remembered. It was a very powerful moment, both two years ago, and yesterday.

The day of the funeral was grey but not cold or rainy. The funeral home's limousine picked us up around ten I think--the funeral was to start at 11 but we needed to be there a bit earlier because a general from Ft. Lewis had come to present us with Thomas's medals beforehand. They had asked us to just bring immediate family but I was certainly not leaving out his grandmother, his aunts and uncles, my cousin and her husband, and the several friends who had helped Thomas or us along the way. Our Casualty Assistance Officer read the citations while the general presented the medals: the Purple Heart, the Good Conduct Medal, and the Bronze Star. Afterwards we talked with the general briefly who offered to help any way he could (we did end up contacting him a few weeks later), and the sergeant who had accompanied Thomas's body home but really I don't remember much about it.

Everyone else went into the church while we waited in the building next door, and then Eric came to get us. We were seated in the front of course, on the right hand side of the church if you were facing the altar. My husband's oldest brother, Eugene, is functionally quadriplegic and cognitively somewhat impaired (mostly short term memory loss and some disinhibitions) as the result of car accident when he was 19--he is in a fairly large wheelchair so he was placed in front of us in the empty space between the pews and the steps to the altar. He can use his right arm some, so he adjusted his chair himself so he would be facing the casket. Gene had been Thomas's confirmation sponsor and he took this death very hard.

This is turning out to be hard to do, not just emotionally, but because there were so many details and I'm trying to not forget any of them. My internal editor has gone on strike! One thing I did which some thought very peculiar at the time was to have our friend Steve take pictures of both the wake and the funeral because I knew that I would never remember what it all looked like. In some cultures, I found out later, this is the norm. I am glad we have these pictures now, even though I keep putting them down and then finding them months later under another stack of papers.

Well, if it takes a few days, so be it.


At April 24, 2008 at 7:02:00 AM PDT , Anonymous danielle said...

I'm glad you have funeral pictures, even if they are difficult to look at. I did the same for William's funeral. I knew that I wouldn't remember the details of the day.


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