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Staring into the Fire

I need to record my memories of the funeral here, so that I never forget. I wish that funerals were videotaped like weddings. Because like a wedding, the main participants go through the ritual in a blur. I found when planning this, that I needed to think of what would be comforting to me and to his father, not what he would necessarily pick as comforting.

I'm going to start with an outline and adding my comments for each section.

Call to Worship and prayer.

Funny, I can't remember any of this part.

Psalms 23
Romans 8, 37-39

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. "

"Just As I am, Without One Plea" Organ solo. This song is the good old Methodist Communion song that I grew up with.

Witness and Celebration of Life

1. W's Scoutmaster spoke of him and remembered his leadership qualities and shared memories. W was the Senior Patrol Leader of his Boy Scout Troop (like a Club President). His favorite memory was of when they were on a particularly difficult hike. W and some of the other scouts had fallen behind, so he went to check on them. W was leaning against a tree, obviously exhausted.

Scoutmaster: What are you doing W?

W: This tree is leaning over, so I'm holding it up.

He had completed every single requirement necessary to attain the rank of Eagle Scout. However, he had not submitted his application. After his death, the adults in the troop and the Scoutmaster worked night and day in order to submit it. The Boy Scouts will only award the Eagle posthumously if a scout has completed all the requirements. So W was presented with the Eagle rank at the funeral.

The Scoutmaster called all Eagles in the audience to the front. This is usually when the older Eagles welcome the new Eagle into the brotherhood. (Only 2 percent of boys that enter scouting ever reach Eagle). There were a few young men there that W knew. But to our amazement and joy, 10 men of various ages also came to the front. They recited the law and the oath. Then the Scoutmaster had them make a space for W in the line as they recited their name and the year they made Eagle. The Scoutmaster said W's name and 2004 as they reached the empty space. Then two of the young scouts presented the Mother's Pin and Father's Pin to his father and me.

2. The leader of his church group spoke. Our church is so big, that kids separate into small groups and meet in members' homes. He told of how W was so quiet but kind. He was willing to help with homework, especially if a girl needed help!

3. The leader of the student ministry at our church spoke. He knew W, even if not as well as the other two, and was able to share a memory. He impersonated W's look perfectly.

Solo: Amazing Grace. This was done acapella and was very beautiful.

Words of Faith, aka, short sermon. The Pastoral Care minister gave this. I wish I could remember more of it, but it was based on a long conversation we had had. I was mostly pleased that he said emphatically that it was NOT God's will that this should happen to W and to us.

CD of Sailor's Prayer, written by Rod MacDonald and performed by the Corsairs (See my favorite Pirate link). This song was selected by B, because it inspires us to keep going.

After the service, so many people came by. His first grade teacher and his most recent teachers were there, as well as so many friends.

We went to the grave site to see the casket for the last time. I could not bear to watch it being lowered into the ground, so we left before that was done. We went back to see the grave later. It is covered with flowers, awaiting only the headstone.

We gathered at a nearby relative's home, where both sides of the family caught up on the latest, and close friends met others for the first time.

So much packed into one day. So strong a life packed into 16 short years.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 16th, 2004 04:04 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you posted this. I will put it in my memories. It is hard to imagine, and yet it happened.
Jun. 16th, 2004 05:08 pm (UTC)
I know exactly what you mean. It was helpful to write it down.
Jun. 16th, 2004 04:16 pm (UTC)
choking back the tears
I sit here erasing what I want to say because none of it seems adequate or right. Instead, I'll just say that you and your family are in my thoughts.
Jun. 16th, 2004 05:09 pm (UTC)
Re: choking back the tears
Thank you. There are no words, and what has helped is the friends and family who have simply cried with me.
Jun. 16th, 2004 04:44 pm (UTC)
I am not eloquent enough to do more than offer my sincerest condolences.... I'm here... talk away
Jun. 16th, 2004 05:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 17th, 2004 04:47 am (UTC)
That's good to know! Thanks.
Jun. 17th, 2004 08:49 pm (UTC)
first, i'm amazed you can write about this in such detail. i was very touched by your outline of the funeral, and especially about Will being named an eagle scout. my two sons are in scouting.

I had forgotten that a death means a funeral. I hope that doesn't sound crass. when my father died, suddenly of a heart attack, 15 years ago, it was in rural Arkansas and we 3 kids flew in from different states to be with mom and help with the funeral arrangements. i alone wept at the funeral and my mom kept telling me to stop it. i am one who feels like getting it all out is very therapeutic. i am a guy and dont feel ashamed to weep at such times; in fact, i didnt have choice, really, it just came in torrents.

when rob, my 16-y.o. beat friend died, it was June 23, saturday, two days after my own 16th b-day. On the 22nd my dad and I attended a Texas Rangers double-header; on the day before that I was at Rob's as usual; on the morning of the 23rd when the phone rang, I knew it would be Rob calling me since we hadnt seen each other the day before. instead it was his sister telling me that Rob had died of a congential heart failure

i was the only pall bearer who was not on the high school tennis team (which Rob was a member of). It was open casket and I looked at his serene body and face, which had been animate only two days earlier. I kept looking; someone nudged me to move on, and I walked out of the church.

I haven't much advice to offer to those grieving friends of your son Will; in a way, everyone must come to terms of their greive on their own; I guess I would just stand by and be supportive in case they wanted to open up with questions. Facing death at such an early age, and under such sudden circumstances is such a major shock (obviously I can remember it with some detail ocer twenty years later). the grief has passed--but the memories, especially the good ones, have remained.

Jesus dies so that we might have life; that is all I can say; Will now lives in a better place.

probably should erase all of the above, like the other poster, but i'll leave that option to you.

Just please know that you and will and your other son and their father and will's friends are in my prayers...

Jun. 18th, 2004 07:27 am (UTC)
Weeping is good. I was so pleased that my husband could weep. Also, different things will set us off, so we can comfort each other in such times. Thank you for your thoughts. I'd like to keep them.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )