Holidays are joyous times for many people … Holidays are reminders of those who have gone before us … Holidays are triggers for memories sometimes just too painful to bear … what does the Holiday Season mean to you ?
Recently I attended the funeral of a precious friend who just happened to be a pilot, a volunteer firefighter, a farmer, a handyman, everyone’s go-to person when someone needed something, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend to MANY. The firefighters in his location attended all the events in FULL FORCE and the #lastride happened in the pictured fire truck.
If you have had the honor of attending the #finalfarewell of a firefighter, you know the forever impact these events have on all those in attendance. What impact does your life have on your family and friends, the world ? It is certainly a time for reflection and reassessment of where we are and where we are going. The Believer does seem to have a peaceful passing, since we DO know where we are going when we die, and it is a lovely part of the service, the funeral, when God’s gift of eternal life is mentioned during the eulogy.
During the service to honor this Super Hero, there was a bagpiper, the casket was draped in the American flag, the songs were strong and impactful, the church was PACKED FULL of people, then there was the procession to the cemetery. Oh My Goodness – it was almost an hour from the church to the cemetery with all the firetrucks and emergency vehicles lit up, and the route was lined with an aerial ladder on a firetruck, extended with an American Flag attached, waving him on to his final resting place. Law enforcement from several municipalities and counties were out in full force to keep the procession from having to stop for ANY cross traffic. People were not trying to get THROUGH the clogged traffic – they were respectful and pulled over to wait until ALL of US had passed; other firehouses had their trucks out and the firefighters for those locations were standing at attention in respect; it was truly a very beautiful Final Ride – Last Ride – and then at the cemetery after the minister had performed the final service, the Last Call came over the radio – “We will take it from here, brother – Rest In Peace.”
The Celebration of Life was the chance for each of us to pay our respects to his wife and family members and certainly to get to know each other, in case we had not met yet, and to hear the stories, some funny and some life-changing, and enjoy the fellowship that goes with participating in these end of life Celebrations. To say it was a privilege just to KNOW this man is an understatement and to attend his Final Farewell is something I will never ever forget.
I would like to take this time to suggest that each of us takes a step backwards to pause and reflect on the lives and the memories we have had and that we have made during the Holidays and keep in mind that while we are singing carols and lighting the Christmas tree, a heart or two may be breaking since their person is no longer on this earth. Be gentle with each other, my friends, and realize that no two grief journeys are the same … EVER !!!