Friday, July 1, 2011

His Final Resting Place

On this day, Daddy's funeral service was held at Holmes-Coffey-Murray Funeral Home in Durant, Oklahoma, at 10 am in their chapel. It was a bright sunny day, but also unbearably hot. The family gathered about 9:30 am. Let's see if I can recall all the family members: From our side was Randy, Kim, Mom, Scott and me (Sherry). From Joyce's side, Renee and her husband Tommy, their children Lindsey and husband, and Kyle and fiance Jackie, and Quinlan, Renee's youngest who was I believe 8 years old. Then there was Michelle and her husband, her two sons and the wife? girlfriend? of one of them, and Michelle's youngest daughter Hannah, who I believe is 5. Joyce, of course, and her two brothers. There were also probably 75 other people in attendance - the chapel was nearly full.

The service was officiated by a minister friend of Daddy's, whose first name is Charles. He had known Daddy since they both were in training to become licensed pastors for their churches. (I learned that a licensed pastor has been trained and can administer the sacrament of communion, conduct baptisms, funerals and weddings, but only at their own church.)

The service itself was very lovely. There were 3 songs - Amazing Grace, How Great is Our God, and (I will have to find out the third song). Bible readings - Psalm 100, and then we all recited the 23rd Psalm together.  I had asked Joyce if I could read my writing of "My Daddy's Laugh," and it was very well-received, I received a number of compliments which made me feel so happy. Michelle had written a poem to Daddy several years ago, about the experience of dying, and Charles read that poem. It has been used in many different funeral services around the country.

Charles' message was wonderful, very personal, and centered on what a wonderful storyteller Daddy was - he later told me that I had "stolen his thunder," jokingly, of course. Everyone who came to meet me after the service spoke of Daddy's stories. He was a never-ending font of stories, he always had one to meet every circumstance. I'm going to do my best to compile some stories that all of us can remember of him.

Pallbearers were Randy, Rene's husband Tommy, Michelle's husband, and the 3 grandsons.

The family went to the cemetery, where we had a prayer, and then the pallbearers proceeded to the grave site. The site is so beautiful, underneath the shade of a big tree.  It will give me much comfort to know that is his resting place.

Joyce had this beautiful wreath of flowers made for the top of his casket. It consisted of six red roses, one for each of Daddy's children - me (Sherry,) Randy, Tamera, Mike, Renee and Michelle, with a white rose in the center.


After we finished at the cemetary, our OKC crew went back to the funeral home. Joyce had told us to take any of the flowers and plants that we wanted, she already had quite a few at home. Here are the pictures of the flowers:


 This beautiful arrangement of roses was sent by Daddy's sister in Georgia, Nell Rose. It had 3 pink roses in the center surrounded by the red roses. Nell Rose wanted to be sure that we took the roses home, so we did. I am going to attempt to dry them and give them to his sisters, the four of us, as well as Mom and Joyce - we'll see if that works out. The arrangement was really stunning.

 Mom picked this basket to take home to Tamera.
 Randy and Kim took this basket.


Of these 3 plants, I chose the top and bottom ones and Randy and Kim chose the middle one. I am hoping to get them on the plane back to Florida with no trouble, wish me luck!

Once our flowers were chosen and loaded, we went to Joyce's house where lunch was served by the ladies of her church. It was really delicious - rolls and butter, green bean casserole, potato salad, baked beans, ham and brisket, with cookies and a very delicious apple crunch desert.

After lunch we all had a nice time visiting - we really only knew Renee and Michelle, and Joyce of course, so it was nice to talk with the others.

I spent some time in Daddy's computer room, and took a few pictures of his desk area. In the first one, you can see his ham radio equipment - he loved his ham radio hobby so much.


I totally missed the computer area, but that is one side of this area.

Daddy and 3 cats - Chloe, Missy and Rascal. The only one of the three that was around was Chloe, and I snapped a few pictures of her.



Chloe was all around his desk, looking for love, and I know she's missing Daddy. She apparently liked to sit on his desk in front of the keyboard so she could get lots of pets as he worked. She's a very sweet cat.

Joyce seems to be doing very well. She said she was very tired and looked forward to having some alone time to catch up on her sleep. She also said something very touching, that the last few months had been very sweet ones with Daddy that she will really treasure. I'm so happy about that.

Being the wild scrapbooker that I am, I asked about pictures, and she sent me home with 2 boxes of photos. There may be more coming after she goes through his things, and someone will make me copies of the ones on his computer. She also had each of us choose one of his bibles. She gave me his Emmaus cross, such a wonderful memento, and his Emmaus printed materials, and a mustard seed tie tack. The mustard seed was very sentimental for me - Daddy gave me a mustard seed necklace when I was very young, probably 8 years old, so that has always been a symbol I associated with him.

About 2:30 pm we loaded up Randy's truck and came back to Oklahoma City. I think it was a wonderful day spent with loved ones, and I know I gained a lot of closure through this day.

Peace and love to everyone!

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Orlando, Florida, United States
"If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you...I came to live out loud. [Emile Zola.]
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