Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bidding Farewell

Oct 1st, as Eric and I pulled up to Pensacola Airport, we got the phone call that his father had just passed away. He had never regained consciousness since his stroke in May and continued to slowly decline over the last few months. Eric felt the need to be in WA before his father passed, but was grateful to already be headed home. The family had made peace with his condition, and just as they were making the decision to stop all interventions, he left on his own, saving Eric's mom from making that final decision.

The first thing Eric said was, "you know what, everyone had made their peace and was ready." But this still didn't make saying the final goodbyes any easier. As Eric grabbed his bag and headed inside the airport, I headed back home and booked a flight for the next morning.

We were able to spend almost 2 weeks helping his family make arrangements and just being there for one another. Eric's sister was kind enough to let us stay with her, and put up with us that long :o)

The funeral was simple, yet extremely powerful. Eric's uncle gave a very moving talk and recalled some of his favorite memories with his older brother. Eric was also asked to give a talk, and include a eulogy. As we began talking about what he wanted to say I realized that I had something that might help. Over 3 years ago I had an assignment to do a "cultural profile" on family members and one of those people was Eric's dad. Even though I offered a questionnaire and promised to put it in first person later, Richard went ahead and took the information I wanted and explained his life in his own words...and that is what Eric read. There were many smiles and laughs as the people that loved him recognized his humor and intellect in his own writing.

Richard also served in the US Army, and was laid to rest at Tahoma National Cemetery with full military honors, in which Eric participated, and was able to hand his mother the flag.

Personally, I'm going to miss how Richard understood people and had compassion for them. When I lost my dog last year, it was his idea to send me flowers...just as it was when I had a miscarriage earlier this year. He also respected mine & Eric's love for one another and was always supportive of our decisions, even though it meant living thousands of miles away.

Richard, you will be missed.


Irish Chick Soup said...

He sounds like a good man. I'm sorry for your family's loss.

Dan and Sheila said...

Thanks so much for writing about Richard. I will also miss him a lot. I always enjoyed his company and thought he was a good man. I was sad to not be able to come to his funeral, but was told how good everyone did in honoring him. I think that it was so cool that Eric got to present his mom with the flag. Sharon said that was one of her favorite parts. Anyway we are so sorry for your loss and love and miss you guys. Lots of love! Sheila

Jessica said...

What a touching tribute. People like that will never be forgotten.

Kristina P. said...

He sounded like a great man.

Crazy Charm said...

What a great tribute for your father in law. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Grandma Arnold said...

I find myself so grateful that this wonderful woman you have become is also my beautiful daughter. I love you and respect you sooooo much.


Wendyburd1 said...

How are you 2 holding up?


Thank you for sharing the wonderful words about Richard. I want you both to know my heart and prayers are with you all at this time. I lost my father last Friday and it is tough to put one foot in front of the other...he was my world.

Queenie Jeannie said...

I'm so sorry for your family's loss. Big hugs and tons of prayers for you all!!!

How are you feeling?? I've missed you!