In Memory of......

We went to a memorial service yesterday that actually was a celebration of my brother in law's life. Tom had been in the Air Force and was buried in a beautiful Veterans Cemetary. They presented a flag to my sister which was an honor for her to receive. I have never experienced such a sweet spirit in a home as I did yesterday. My sister wanted to give Toms friends and family a chance to honor him by speaking. Toms nephew gave a beautiful introduction and shared his heart. It was precious. I don't want to really call this a service because it wasn't. As my sister told everyone, Tom was not a church going man and she thought this gathering at home would make him happy. Some of his co-workers and hunting buddies were there and were the first ones to speak. Normally when someone passes away you hear all the good and it almost sounds as though they led a perfect life. But as the different friends and family spoke they talked about the good and the bad. Tom was an 'in charge" kind of guy. He wanted everything the way he wanted it. His way was the right way & according to his coworkers he was usually right. As different ones spoke it was evident that everyone saw that. I loved it because none of us are perfect in everything we do. Different ones told funny & serious stories. Tom was a great business man & provided well for his family while he was here. He was an awesome hunter & fisherman and had a great love for it. All over the house were trophies he had killed. He traveled all over the world. We saw 2 Boone & Crockett awards-one for a grizzly bear & one for a Caribou. The caribou was on the wall and the grizzly bear was a rug in his den. I took pictures so you could see some of this. It was unreal. Anyway, as the different ones spoke about him, it was so touching because most of them ended by telling my sister and her children that Tom might not had shown them with his emotions that he loved them but that they were all he talked about. He has an older son that was also there from a previous marriage that has been precious to Brenda & the kids. He looks just like his dad. Tom also has 2 more grown children that weren't able to attend. I would have loved to have met them though. Tom's 2 sisters were there and their families and were so very nice. I could go on and on about yesterday. It was a great experience. I was proud of my sister, Brenda. She carried herself with grace and dignity as she talked to everyone that honored Tom by coming. I told my sister today that my husband & I would have loved to had said something but we are not ones to talk in a big crowd. Tom was always very nice to us even though we didn't know him as well as we should have. One time when we were going through some financial problems with one of my children, Tom sent us a $150.00 check to help us. We will never forget that. It was a blessing at a time when we needed it. He had a giving heart. Brenda's best friend took charge of the food that her church had provided. She kept everyone served and everything cleaned up. She was an angel. She said she is a servant to whoever God puts in her path. Tom's nephew ended the memorial by telling us that as much as Tom loved his hunting and his cars, etc, none of that matters now. He shared with us to tell the people in your life that you love them NOW. Don't take them for granted and don't put it off because one day it could be too late. But the icing on the cake was the fact that 6 months ago Tom had been baptized and came to the Lord. He shared with us that this is what is important and is between you and the Lord. He told us this is all that matters in the end. It was such an honor to be there. I would not have missed it for the world. When we left this gathering, we went away knowing we were better people. Through my brother in laws life & death we were reminded to cherish each other more. There is a poem that reminds me of the theme of this gathering and this is my gift to my sister and their children and this is in honor of Tom.
The Dash
I saw a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
To the beginning and the end

He said first came the date of her birth
And spoke of the following date with tears
And said what matters most of all
Was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time
She spent alive on earth
Only the Lord, the Creator
Knows what that dash is worth

For it matters not, how much we own
The cars, the house, the cash
What matters is how we live our lives
And how we spend our dash

So think about this long and hard
Are there things you need to amend?
You never know how much time is left
Your dash may be nearing its end

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we've never loved before
If we treat each other with respect
more often show a smile
Remembering that this special dash
May only last a while
So when your record is clearly shown
With your life to rehash
Would you be proud of the things it says
About how you spent your dash?
Author:Linda Ellis

My Mom will be doing a post on the actual memorial service soon.


Anonymous said…
This was so touching. Thank you for sharing this.
Needled Mom said…
It sounds like it was a wonderful celebration of a life well lived. It is heartwarming to read about all the people who spoke so fondly of him.

I have always loved the "dash" poeam as it speaks volumes.
Alice Grace said…
I could not have put it better in words than you did about this wonderful memorial. I cried as I read it, as your words are such an honor to Tom, just as his friends and family were at the memorial.
Tom was a wonderful and strong personality, and in the end, he became what God would have him to be, obedient to the call of God for his soul by accepting Jesus into his life.
I am proud of my daughter and your sister, Brenda, and her children. They honored Tom in a way that was so special. Like you, I would not have missed this special time. We will see Tom again and he will greet us with open arms and that big smile.
Sue said…
Valerie, thank you for sharing this with us. Your writeup was lovely and made me feel like I was there. I am sure the angels in heaven are rejoicing that Tom is with them. I will continue to pray for your sister and family.
Carliea said…
Through remembering him you have allowed his life to touch others. I am praying for you and your family.
Darla said…
Very moving, I too have one of those Flags from my oldes kids Dad's funeral he was Navy.
QuiltedSimple said…
Very moving. What a great way to remember a life.
Julie said…
What a tender post. I loved the poem. I have never heard that. It sounds like you had a very nice day. Blessings to your family. Julie
Linda said…
Very sorry for your loss & your families loss! Thank you so much for sharing! What a wonderful celebration of life! I haven't seen that poem in years and it brought back lots of memories!
(((( hugs 2 you and yours!))))
Brenda Sue said…
Thank you my sweet Sister. I have only just been able to look at this special blog honoring Tom. I wanted to ...just was not ready. Thank you for loving Tom and us through it all. We love you very much. Thanks to all your friends for the many prayers on our behalf. Thank you, Beth.
Toni J said…
Thank you for such a touching tribute and honoring my brother. Thank you for loving him. He was my brother-the good, the bad and the ugly-and I loved him dearly.

Tom's family is a true blessing in my life.

God bless.