Monday, March 12, 2007

Went to our friend Pat's funeral mass today. It was your quintessential Irish Catholic funeral where you bounce from tears to laughter, grief to joy, pain to relief, twice a minute. Pat was a beloved husband, father and friend and we all sat helpless in the pews as the liturgy of saying goodbye unfolded in and around his parish church. His granddaughter spoke of his deep, mellifluous voice that "just wrapped itself around you" and made you feel so protected, both as a child and an adult. His daughter spoke of the rich one-on-one time they spent together on the golf course; his son related the stories of their goose hunting trips. His five adult children just held onto each other as they stood together in the pew, putting the final goodbye in place and preparing to move on. We were all free from burden knowing that Pat died at home and deep in love, yet heavier knowing his place at the table will sit vacant.

He was a fire commissioner and we stepped out of the church to watch Spokane County's Bravest afford Pat their highest honor as the bagpipes wailed mournfully in the windy March day. Finally the flag was folded and handed to his widow and as I turned back into the church, I saw 200 wide eyed children in red school sweatshirts and navy blue cords on the school playground, stopped at play. They stood completely still with balls at their side, paying their final respects, too.

Pat would have been deeply honored.


JBelle
Bellemaison
The 'Kan EWA

9 comments:

The Fool said...

It sounds like Pat is still among us. His body may have returned, but it seems his soul is carried in so many.

Have a great day, JBelle. Thanks you for the reminders.

JBelle said...

As a teacher, I want you to know that those school kids stopping in the middle of recess to show respect completely undid me. We are all powerful yet do we ever really understand the full extent of our power?

MarmiteToasty said...

Sounds like everyone has such wonderful memories of a good man.... what a lovely gift he has left you all with...

((((Schmeeebs))))) thank you for sharing a little part of Pat with me...

*did ya wear funeral shoes thou* ;)

love ya xx

JBelle said...

Mel, Pat would have been completely done in, as was I, by those kids in the schoolyard. It was one of the most touching things I have ever witnessed.

the psycho therapist said...

Schmeebs, that last paragraph about the kids stopped my heart...that and the bagpipes.

*sigh

I could just imagine the scene. What grace.

Sometimes there is so much beauty in this world...


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JBelle said...

Wendo, There they stood. Not all those buff firemen lining both sides coming out of the back of the open hearse, not the wind whipping the flag and everyone's hair around, not even my friend Nancy's quivering lower lip as they put her husband in the hearse to go to the cemetery spoke to me like these little kids who stopped playing dodgeball to show respect. That was a Pat thing; he could touch you in a place and in a way that that nobody else....That's how I know he was there and his spirit lives and moves. THat's how I know I'm a Catholic because I have complete faith that we'll see each other again and he and Nancy will laugh and hold hands. And we'll talk about those kids on the playground.

Carla said...

Heartfelt condolences to you. It's always hard to lose a friend. I'm glad you have so many good memories and friends...it always helps.

The Fool said...

Yes, JBelle, that image of the children in the school yard is most potent. As a teacher, how could I not be moved? It displays one way that we live on, and points out the joyous potential of each day's moments.

Love. That's what it's all about. Those children didn't stop because of some fact Pat taught them, his finesse at parsing a sentence, or his manipulation of numbers. Those children stood still to touch his heart once again, because he touched theirs.

Thank you.

green libertarian said...

My condolences for your loss, Jbelle, and that of his family a friends.