Posted by: Norm | April 3, 2014

A Hero to the Few That Matter

Last week we placed the remains of a man who was a true hero; in life, in war, to his friends and family.  As the service proceeded I took time to look at the collage of photos provided by the family.  Funny thing was: I’d never heard of him.  Outside his sphere of influence, he was an unknown.  But his story was one of heroic proportions, especially his record of service in the military.

I sometimes muse on what my family might put together in a collage or eulogies to tell my story.  It’s usually a very short self-discussion.  I don’t find myself remarkable in any way.

For most of us there is no big fire engines or parade of police cars or a long progression of dignitaries in limousines to the cemetery.  Most of us have lived quiet lives to the rest of the world, even to the neighbors down the street.

But let me tell you what lifts my spirits most as I have attended well over a thousand funerals over the last 20 years in the employ of Bobbitt Memorial Chapel.  What encourages me is the words I hear and overhear from spouse, a child or a grandkid.  They’ll mention a man who worked hard, quietly sacrificed and made sure his family was cared for.  A daughter will mention how mom as an example of goodness, kindness, gentleness and self-control.  A grandchild tells the assembled mourners how “Grammy” always had Vienna Sausages, Spam, Bon-Bon’s or Strawberry Lemonade, just for them.

Camping in the backyard with grandparents is a big deal for kids.  Popcorn, movie night and staying up late are etched in sons’ and daughters’ memories.  Cousins mention “card night” or “taco Tuesday” at Uncle Joe’s and Aunt Mary’s.

The body we place in the ground is the one that never missed a Little League game, a ballet recital, a choir performance or a homecoming parade.  Countless “pick-ups” and “drop-offs” were made at the movies, library and sleep-overs.

It’s all pretty normal stuff for responsible spouses, parents and grandparents.  These things are the fabric of a life well-lived and as we look back, those of us who grieve, know we have been in the presence of a significant man or woman in our lives.


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