We said our final goodbye to Tom on Saturday---or did we? Friends and family gathered at the graveside Saturday morning for the interment. It was a beautiful day, between 50 and 60 degrees, with the sun brightly shining. The minister, our friend Joe Rightmyer, spoke of hope, new life and the resurrection. Tom was buried with military honors and seeing that flag draped casket brought tears of pride to my eyes, as did the words of appreciation spoken to me by the young man from the Army as he presented the flag to me. Our grandchildren each took a yellow rose from me and laid it on the casket. Precious Meredith, held by her father, placed hers and said, "Goodbye Paw Paw." It was a dear moment.
The memorial service that afternoon was truly a witness to the resurrection and an uplifting worship service. It was everything Tom and I wanted it to be! Again, Joe's message was one that presented the gospel and gave glory to God. Special music was a jazzy arrangement of Amazing Grace, written and performed on clarinet by Marty's friend and major professor in college. The recessional was another arrangement of his for organ and clarinet for When the Saints Go Marching In." Both Joe's message of truth, hope and promise and the music put a smile on my face. In every way God was glorified.
Many friends came, offered condolences and shared memories. Each one was special and each has helped with the grieving process. We felt truly blessed by their presence.
There were a few things that could have marred the perfect day and weekend. Instead they reminded us that life goes on. Friday, Tommy, Jacob, Sarah and I left in one car and Marty, Kevin and the boys in another. Liz planned to drive down later in the day with a friend and the three other children. When they were all loaded, in the car and ready to leave, her car would not start. She called Tommy while we were eating lunch in Jackson, MS and he talked the friend through the directions to jump a battery. Saturday there was silence during the time "Taps" was to be played. We waited expectantly and watched as the soldier put his horn in the case and came to help fold the flag. The horn malfunctioned. And before we could leave the cemetery, Tommy and David, Tom's brother, had to change a tire on his rental car. We laughed, thinking of comments Tom, Jr. would have made.
The bottom line: the services honored a special man and gave glory to his God. I am blessed to have shared my life with that special man and he will always be in my heart.