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Bob's Send Off

I’ve attended many funerals, some good and some bad.
The worst I remember was Billie’s. At twenty years of age, he died violently and mysteriously, filling young minds with questions and pain. The preacher- whom none of us knew- encouraged us to ‘rise up with wings as eagles.’ His sister fell on the coffin, shrieking his name. She didn’t exactly rise up.
Today Dad and I attended a funeral in Lake Havasu City for Dad’s friend Bob. It was a diametrically opposed affair. The word I took with me from the celebration was ‘honor.’ The Knights of Columbus honored Bob, a 4th degree Knight himself. The military honored their fallen veteran with a flag presentation, a three round volley, and the playing of Taps. The mournful notes of the single bugle brought tears to the eyes of people that had so recently smiled at memories of Bob only moment before.
The Catholics are masters at honor too. The singing, the liturgy, incense and candles pay tribute to a life well lived. Father Chauncy shone as he consistently referred to Bob in the present tense. “Bob loves the Lord… the bride of Christ the church… his wife Ramona…his family.” The altar appeared crowded as priests, bishops and deacons assisted one another celebrating a life well lived. A hundred people or more took the time to pay their respects with the family.
Just like any other faith, the Catholics know how to eat. After the ceremony and a short graveside service the Family Center filled with relatives and friends. Potluck style, myriad tables overflowed with casseroles and Jell-O salads. The family struggled to eat as people stopped to hug, kiss and encourage.
Now the church lies empty, the chairs removed from the graveside, and the tables, chairs and food cleared from the Family Center. Families and friends return to their normal lives and fondly remember Bob, a man who lived his life with honor.
What a great send- off.

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