A Funeral And A Christmas Tree

Yesterday was a strange day. Traditionally we put up our Christmas tree on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We get up, make some homemade hot chocolate and start the whole process which takes about 2 1/2 hours. But we had to postpone it to be able to go to our friends husband's memorial service.

My husband and I haven't been to a funeral since my step-dad died 12 years ago. In your mind you don't really want to go but you feel you must. It doesn't matter how close you were to that person, it's just not something that you really want to do. We didn't know Mike very well and had only seen him a few times. But Sally is our friend and we wanted to show our support and love for her. And I was wrong about Mike's age, he was exactly the same age as my husband.

They have been through a lot in the past several years. Mike had liver and heart problems as well as Parkinson's. He spent the last few years basically in bed and she cared for him. Her health was not the best either with her having brain surgery a few years ago to remove a tumor. But they kept going, mostly by themselves. They also have a mentally ill daughter in her 30's and at one point was in an institution and wouldn't even acknowledge that her parents existed. They did everything in their powers to help her but as she was an adult there was not much they could do. The daughter is better now, while on meds and they got back to their normal with her back in their lives.

It was a short simple service but we learned a lot about Mike that we never knew before. We didn't know that he served in Viet Nam so he was honored with a military service. I've never seen one before and it was very emotional. Two fine young men came up front, unfolded the flag in front of her and then the doors were opened so we could hear the firing of the guns. Three shots in all which made me jump and start to shake a little. Then the young men refolded the flag and presented it to her followed by the presenting of the shell casings to honor him for serving his country. I don't know how she kept it together, no one else could.

After we stayed and offered hugs we went to the store to pick up a few things and then headed home. Hot chocolate was made, Christmas music on, and the tree box was opened. It didn't have the same feel though and I think we all kind of went through the motions. I guess I felt guilty for going on with my life knowing that Sally will eventually returning to an empty house.

My husband and I talked kinder to each other sparing the usual banter between couples when decorating. Our daughter even brought a lot of the decorations upstairs by herself while we were gone, without even being asked.

So I guess going to a funeral before a fun family tradition is a gift after all. It helps you to appreciate your family and the memories that go along with everything you do together. Anything from vacations, traditions, and even arguing. It just made it all the more sweeter.

Rest in peace Mike, and thanks for the gift.


Touching post. A day filled with extremes, seems like you guys handled it all in stride.
fernvalley01 said…
Certainly reminds us of whaty is important . Hugs to you for being a good support to your friend.Sounds like a very moving day
ethelmaepotter! said…
It takes a special person to see the gift that death brings.
I believe that something good can come from almost any situation - it's up to the individuals involved to take that situation and find the good.
You found it.
Grumpy said…
Nothing like a funeral to focus one's priorities. I'm not having one for myself; my instructions are for a get together for family and friends with food and drink. I can't stand the thought of everyone sitting around glum and mopey.
kden said…
@Grumpy, that sounds like a good idea. Let the party begin, but not too soon, K?

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