Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!

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I received this gorgeous floral bouquet last week
from a dear friend,
(Thank you, Judy!)
on the morning of my husband's funeral.
We held his Mass of the Christian burial last week on what would have been my sweethearts 89th birthday.
I delayed his interment so that his youngest son could have time to fly home from Australia &
it also would not interfere with the impending birth of his oldest son's first grandchild.

Ernie's Funeral Mass

By blogging about the details of this day, I hope that my grandchildren (who were all there)
will remember & understand all the meaningful choices that went into making this day special.

His ashes were encased in this hand-painted wooden box with golf motif...a gift from my little sister.
Thanks Ruth E!  I heard lots of nice compliments on how cool & very unique it was.

Ernie's box

I chose the song "Christ Be Beside Me" for the entrance song & you can listen to it on youtube here:

My friend, Nicole, told me about it, as well as the reading about doctors from the Old Testament,
in the Book of Ecclesiasticus, Sirach 1-16. 
It was a perfect selection.  Thank you, Nicole!

I also included the song, Panis Angelicus,
(Bread of Angels) during Communion,
as it was a favorite of both he & his mother. 

They followed that with the Ave Maria, which was one of my father's beautiful solos.
He sang it at my daughter's wedding as well as at many funerals, after he retired. 
He had a gorgeous voice!

Each of these songs are so meaningful to our family, 
that they never fail to bring tears to my eyes.

navy insignia

My husband joined the Navy, right out of high school, during WW II.
His two older brothers were already serving in the Navy...both had thankfully survived the amphibious landing in Anzio beach, Italy.

When my husband's appendix ruptured,
while he was in the service,
he was one of the first persons to ever receive the new drug, Penicillin back in the '40s.
It literally saved his life!

Because of his service to his country, my husband was entitled to be buried in a National Veterans Cemetery.

I chose the one nearest to our home, which is Ohio Western Reserve in Rittman, OH.


This is the bell tower that you see upon first entering the cemetery.

bell tower at cemetary

The row upon row of perfectly spaced headstones is an impressive site!   Such precision!

grave flags

burial vaults

My husband's ashes were sealed into one of these stone vaults, where there is room for me to join him
when my time comes.

 To go between our names & dates, I chose the inscription "In God's Hands".

half mast

The flag was lowered to half mast & a lone service member played taps...guaranteed to bring one to tears!

The service members are all volunteers from local area VFW posts, who take turns spending two days per week to help honor their fallen brothers.


folded american-flag

They had an honor guard, standing at attention along the walkway to the pavilion, waiting for us to arrive along with two members of the Navy, who stood at attention & waited to carry in his cremains & his flag.

After taps, the two uniformed members of the Navy, wearing white gloves, performed the folding of the flag.
They make each of the traditional 13 folds with perfect precision as we looked on in tearful silence.

The flag folding ceremony along with the gun salute was one of the most powerfully moving & impressive displays of patriotism that I have ever witnessed!  It was a tremendously beautiful tribute.

His Navy representatives presented me with his folded flag, along with a little bag containing the casing shells from the gun salute.

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I have them sitting on his favorite chair at the moment but intend to soon purchase a wooden case to properly display them.

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A dozen white roses were beside his portrait & ashes on the church's alter & a friend brought them home for me to enjoy afterwards.

The single red rose was to represent my undying love for him.
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They still look beautiful on the dining room table beside our wedding photos & one that was taken on a cruise.

We look so happy & I have such wonderful memories of all the good times we shared.

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I just noticed the single red rose on the main table at our reception.  I didn't remember it until just now.

I carried an arm full of calla lilies & I was amazed at how many of the sympathy cards I received also had calla lilies on them.  Coincidence?  

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He will always be my hero, for the way he lived his life. 

 One of the readings at his Mass was from 1 Corinthians 13:4 because it described Ernie & his character so beautifully.  He was all of these things & more.  I can only hope to live the rest of my life, emulating his example.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails."

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  1. A beautiful service and a loving tribute. How blessed you are!

  2. What a moving blog post……there are tears in my eyes. What a wonderful man, Rett! You were so blessed to have each other. I read a line in a fiction book recently that seems so appropriate……………….."When you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries while you rejoice." I don't think I could say it better myself!

  3. Rett, what a beautiful tribute and memory. You've been in my thoughts. xxoo

  4. Your Ernie was such a special man, Rett, and you both were so blessed to have had each other to share your lives. What a loving, thoughtful tribute you gave him. I know you miss him deeply and you're in my prayers, my friend.

  5. Rett, your post is beautiful and a fitting tribute to your Ernie. How blessed in life to share the years with such a union. I know your heart aches. What a lovely and meaningful service you planned. Keeping you close in my heart, dear friend.

  6. Beautiful memories of your beloved...you are in my thoughts, Rett.

  7. Thank you for sharing these memories of your beloved Ernie with us. The song God Be Beside Me is playing as I write - a beautiful song and prayer. May you find comfort in knowing God`s presence in your life.

  8. Such sweet memories. You continue to be in my prayers.

  9. What a beautiful post honoring Ernie and sharing the wonderful memories you have of him. I pray that God will comfort you and carry you through the days ahead.

  10. What a lovely tribute to your wonderful husband, Rett. You were such a handsome couple and you have your beautiful photos and memories to treasure. You are in my prayers.

  11. I didn't realize he had passed away. This is a beautiful tribute to him and his life. He was a mighty handsome fella. :)
    Prayers for your comfort and for the rest of the family.

  12. What a wonderful tribute to a beautiful person with whom you shared a powerful love. I am sorry for your loss, but glad you had each other. The two of you do indeed look happy and beautiful together! Prayers and hugs going out to you, Rett.

  13. What a beautiful, loving tribute to your Ern. Your love and care is so obvious. This is such loving testamony to the life you shared.

  14. What a loving memories and beautiful tribute for your hubby Rett. And what a handsome couple you were, love seeing your photos. Please know you're in my thoughts. ♥

  15. So beautiful, Rett. The care and love that went into the planning of such a beautiful service must have been a comfort to all of you. Your dear Ern must have been the best of husbands and in your tribute and honouring of him you are the best of wives.


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