Today’s post is very personal. It is about something that dozens or hundreds of people and families experience daily. We gathered with family and friends to say goodbye to my sweetheart’s brother today; it was an emotional and beautiful celebration. It was even more impactful by the presence of a military honor guard with us to say thank you and farewell to one of their brothers.
David was a veteran, but he was also a father, brother, uncle, and friend, and there were many in attendance to celebrate his life. As the honor guard methodically unfolds and folds the flag to present to David’s daughter, the Commander of the local American Legion paints a picture of the character and make-up of a person who sets aside their personal goals to serve the country they love. The room became very focused as the rifle fire rang out in a 21-gun salute, and the haunting sound of the lone bugle blew taps. The honor guard’s intensity and precision set the tone for the celebration and farewell. It also brought me back to the scene of my father’s farewell and receiving his flag of honor. It intensified the emotions I was feeling today.
I am in no way saying that David was an extraordinary individual, though he was to everyone gathered here to say goodbye. Still, men and women like David are being laid to rest and celebrated daily and remembered for how they impacted the people in their lives. Each one of them is extraordinary. The sadness for me is that you watch the events, listen to the words at a farewell gathering, and question why. Why do we wait until someone has passed to honor and show our love for them?
The minister stepped to the podium and described David and his seventy-seven years on this earth with verses and stories. In a calming voice, he painted a picture of David’s life as if he had known David for decades. In truth, he was simply echoing the thoughts of David’s loved ones. Family and friends told their accounts of their special
relationship or moment with David, and we all shared tears and laughter.
It would be nice if David were sitting in front of us in his familiar chair. If instead of looking at a picture of him, and a box with his ashes surrounded by beautiful flowers, he were present to hear all of these wonderful words spoken about him. I wish we could all take a moment from our busy lives to reach out to those special people we know and tell them why they are so before they leave this earth. My sweetheart has a habit of ending every phone call or visit with someone close by saying, “I love you.” It is a simple act, but one that says so much. I have adopted that habit, which shows how we can learn to spread kindness and love in the moment and not wait for a celebration of life.
We said goodbye to a loved one today, and I can see David smiling down at us. We are reminded of how quickly life passes and how precious each moment can be. Spend a few of those moments each day to show your love to those around you before they are a picture surrounded by beautiful flowers. Hold them in your arms and let them know they are special before they are but a memory you must hold.