Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Next Step: An Adventure

Whoever would think that a funeral could be an adventure? But that is what it was. Snow poured like water from the sky, the winds whipping it into drifts. It was a scramble to find boots, gloves and hats for everyone because who would expect to be out in a blizzard to bury a loved one?

The snow blinded us on the short walk to the car. A neighbor had been outside for an hour or more, clearing all the sidewalks and vehicles for us. What a guy. We drove, sometimes in whiteout conditions, the 10 miles to the church. Afterwards, we sat waiting for the procession to the cemetery to start--only immediate family could go but still there were many cars because this is a huge family and many of them stayed overnight to be with us.

We wondered why we were waiting so long to leave for the cemetery. As it turned out the vault truck was stuck, blocking the way to the site. Would the pallbearers be willing to carry the casket from the highway to the grave? There was also a concern that the hearse might get stuck. The guys were willing; it would be about 1/4 mile to walk in stinging snow, stiff winds, and drifts to our knees. We could all hear Jon's laughter--he would have loved a challenge like this.

Somehow they got the truck unstuck so the men did not have to take on that strenuous hike. As we made our way back to the church for dinner, we knew that this funeral would be in our minds and stories for a long time to come. And Jon, if he could be here with us, would be laughing loudest. He made sure, I think, that there would be no chance of anyone forgetting this day (as if we could anyway).

The cemetery is a beautiful place with old stones and trees, a stone chapel and quiet views. It is truly a place of rest. I think I will be able to visit and feel peace. But I think I'd prefer that visit to be when there is no blizzard of the century raging.

To give birth is the first gift we give to our children. To offer the eulogy for your child is perhaps the final gift and the most difficult to give. I knew he would want me to do this, and it calmed my heart to be able to do this one thing for Jon and for his family.

I will tell you here, as I told those at the service, that the best way to honor my son is to not look back with regret, but to go forward with enthusiasm and hope. How we do this is what will define his life and his memory. Jonathan means "gift of God," and he truly, truly was a gift we were fortunate to have had.

21 comments:

Debbie Couture said...

Beautiful Sue.

Nance said...

I believe that one of the most noble and courageous things someone can do is deliver the eulogy for a son. That, ma'am, took bravery. That, Granny Sue, took intestional fortitude . . . and Faith and belief in the Hereafter.

And to have to fight the elements to the cemetery, in addition to facing the lose of your son, I just cannot imagine. I am sending positive thoughts and prayers.

ELLOUISESTORY said...

Thought of you often today. Only a storyteller would realize immediately that the story of today will keep Jon close forever - warmed by his mother's words. Beautiful, brave and so loving.

Marilyn said...

Ah, Sue. I was thinking of you today. I know for certain that a funeral can bring healing and solace---for what is a funeral, but stories and stories and stories? And those truly last forever.

Rowan said...

A beautiful post - and a brave one. It must be incredibly difficult to be positive at a time like this and shows great strength of character. I'm not sure I would have been able to give the eulogy in these circumstances. Jon would be very proud of you.

DGranna said...

I was thinking of you and your family during the TV views of the snow on the news, wondering if you would be able to drive to the service and cemetery. May your hearts be warmed with the good memories and feel Jon's presence with you. God bless you alll, Daneille

Nessa said...

You are a very courageous woman. Your love shines brightly.

laoi gaul~williams said...

oh sue how very brave of you~i am sure Jon would have been so very proud.
you have been in my thoughts and remain there
xoxoxo

Anonymous said...

I am glad you are continuing to write. You have always touched my heart with your writings, but never as much as this one. I am deeply saddened that I was unable to attend, but his smiling face and generous spirit will live on in my memory forever. My prayers continue to be with you and the entire family.

Tracy

The Weaver of Grass said...

Continue to be that strong inspiration for your family Sue - you are in my thoughts.

Connie said...

I didn't know Jon, but somehow it seems fitting that he provided a story to tell to his storyteller mother.

Connie

MimiRock said...

Can't write right now--I have a lump in my throat.
Mimi

Jai Joshi said...

Sue, I'm so so sorry to read the news. I only just found out. I can't imagine what you've been going through.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. God bless you all and God bless Jon.

Jai

Maggie and Roger said...

I can hear your your grandchildren's grandchildren:
"Granny tell us the story of your Uncle Jon!"

You're a good Mom and a loving person. I'm so proud you to be your sister.

Mike said...

Well, Sue this is just another example of what makes you so special to all of us. Glad to see your words here and and follow those to come as well. Have you and yours in my thoughts.

Mike

Country Whispers said...

Your words bring tears to my eyes.
Today is the first day of your new adventure and I wish you the same courage and strength that got you through this day to be with you from here on out.

Mary said...

Such courage and spirit in appreciating the gift from God, for the time given. I love you all!

bayouwoman said...

I am so encouraged by your love laced with courage. I'm not sure if I could do the same for my child, though it must be the second largest gift given to a child.

It's very personal, but I'm sure I'm not alone when I express my deep desire to read your eulogy for your son.

Blessings of strength, comfort, and peace,
Wendy

Granny Sue said...

BW, the eulogy wasn't written down--as a storyteller I usually learn the main points then tell the story. In this case, I knew the main points by heart. I will write it out, however, because others who could not be there because of the weather have asked for it.

Nance said...

by heart. Of course, you knew it by heart. A mother would. Please write it down and share it when you can.

Jaime said...

I remember sitting in the car when George walked up and told us that we may have to walk in. At that point Aaron and George agreed that they would do whatever it takes. They were definitely up to the challenge and I know Jon was proud.

That is definitely not going to be a day I forget anytime soon.

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