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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Thursday, March 09, 2006

final tribute

Sunday and Monday, March 5th and 6th, were a whirlwind of activity and of notifying friends and relatives of Papa’s (FIL) funeral arrangements. The funeral plans had already been made and fees already paid in advance for the preparations and internment – Papa had planned several years ahead. Even the obit had been written, with just a few corrections and additions necessary – some of my daughters’ young ones had to be added.

On Sunday, neighbors, friends and relatives started showing up with love, care and sympathy – and bringing food, desserts, soft drinks, plates, cups and napkins – and even ice. This continued on Monday and then on Tuesday my BIL’s church showed up with lunch enough for an army. It was much needed and appreciated because the family had started gathering in for the funeral home visitation on Tuesday evening.

About 11:30 on Tuesday am, the family went over for a private viewing of Papa’s body – the first time Mema had seen him since his passing. This was a very emotionally painful, yet well established custom in this part of the country. Though traumatic, this already close family seemed to be pulled even closer together in our shared sorrow. We then went back home for a bit of rest and to greet the newly arriving relatives.

The immediate family arrived at the funeral home about 5:30pm, the visitation/viewing was to begin at 6pm but some folks were already there. The receiving line was soon out of the room and on occasion, out the door of the establishment. The visitation was to be from 6 til 8, but went until almost 9pm. We knew that Papa had touched many lives over the years but were somewhat taken aback by this outpouring of respect for him and of love and concern for Mema and the family.

Wednesday morning, the day of the funeral, dawned and grew into a beautiful, clear, spring-like day. The family gathered at the funeral home shortly after 1pm for the motorcade to the nearby church. Arriving at the church, the casket was rolled down front and all the family was seated.

We had four speakers for this last tribute and the first was the doctor that was once Papa and Mema’s family physician, still their friend, but is now doing a lot of missionary work in other countries, including Russia and India. This is the same doctor that we credit for being perceptive enough to catch the heart condition in my spice – resulting in the heart surgery that saved her life back in March of 2001. He gave a glowing tribute and a challenge to have the same care and concern that Papa had for those around him.

Next was the pastor of BIL’s church with a message of Faith, Hope and Love and how these things evidenced themselves in Papa’s life and would be good in ours as well. Then Papa’s pastor spoke about what a concerned person he was, about others and the church. Beautiful songs were song between each speaker, with live music for the first two and the last was to be sung with a sound track. The machine failed and the song was done a cappella – so well that some didn’t know that it wasn’t meant to be done that way.

The last speaker was my pastor – Papa’s as well for a long time – and he spoke about Papa and Mema being the first ones to greet them when they came to our church in Augusta in 1975. He told about them becoming close friends over the years, with his two sons also becoming close to Papa, him being almost like a grandpa to them. He told of Papa’s care for others and his giving to someone in need through the church so as to remain anonymous. Some of these things we were aware of and some even the family didn’t know about.

From the church we went in procession to the cemetery. The ministers had a few last words and prayer and the tribute to Papa’s life, for that day, was over. Papa’s church furnished supper for the family and then we went back to our homes.

The spice and I went back to the cemetery today to just get out and to check out the burial site and flowers. The flowers, though a bit wind-blown, were still beautiful but God had supplied some as well. The flowering pear trees in the area were almost in full bloom, promising even more beauty to come in the later spring. This reminded me of the promises of God that we also would see Papa again one day with a new body and no longer hindered by the frailties of the old feeble one left in that grave. God is good, all the time! ec


Blogger Yours truly said...

I am sorry to read of your loss, and encouraged by the hope that sustains your lives. My condolences to your family.

3/10/2006 05:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These times are so hard. I am reminded of April 05, when my wife lost her condolences to you and your family...

- Jon
- Daddy Detective

3/10/2006 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

yours truly - Thank you, and it is the hope of the Lord that sustains.

daddy d - Yes these times are hard but we rest in God's promises for the future. ec

3/10/2006 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger grannyfiddler said...

many blessings on you and your'n. yes, God is good, and life is good, but coping with death is, i think, the hardest part of life. my heart aches for you.

3/10/2006 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Bonita said...

Death can be a messenger of joy - it awakens all of our love and care, and it harbors promise of greater union with our beloved, God. I know that spring will continue to make this resting place beautiful for your visits.

3/10/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Allison said...

What a legacy! Thank you for sharing this.

3/10/2006 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger madcapmum said...

I'm sorry you'll be missing him for a while. Best wishes.

3/10/2006 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Your words remind me of a poem:

Death is nothing but a moment's rest
Until the Second Coming of the Lord
When He shall gather to Him of the best
To take them to the place of their reward.
I've felt the power of Jesus in my soul
Shining like a golden sun within,
Melting my hard heart to make me whole,
Burning out the remnants of my sin.
I've felt Him work within me, so I know
The glory that will come when I awake.
I'll sleep just like a child who'll homeward go,
And in my dreams of love great pleasure take.
So do not mourn my death, and do not grieve.
The Lord will come for me: This I believe.

3/10/2006 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Mr Eddie ~ I hope the family is starting to feel better after the loss. I really liked the poem Sometimes Saintly Nick put on your comments,

Peter is home and blogging again as I guess you have found. I prefer my quote "a man's mouth breaking his nose." Similar to yours, but more refined !!

3/10/2006 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

grannyfiddler - The next few weeks will be especially tough on MIL as she works through the processes of grief.

bonita - I believe the coming spring will lift many spirits in this regard.

allison - He did leave a legacy and a loving and caring family.

MCM - Yes, particularly hard on MIL and my spice.

SSN - Thanks, great poem - are you the author?

merle - It has been constant going since December. First in the hospital, then nursing home, hospital, etc., etc. It seems that we still should be doing something but don't know what.

In case you hadn't noticed, I'm not wonderfully strong in the refinement area. :) :) ec

3/11/2006 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger jay are said...

sorry to read of your FIL's passing but it's nice when these times of sadness can also be mixed with gladness for the release from pain or suffering.

Hoping that there is comfort and ease in this time.

3/12/2006 01:33:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

jay are - Thank you - and this release from his pain is a comfort to us and time will lessen the missing him. ec

3/12/2006 10:37:00 AM  

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