Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hope's Funeral

Events from Saturday May 10

The day was cool and rainy, almost as if tears were falling from heaven. Laurie and I went over to Duda Rucks this morning to deliver some items to place in Hope's casket. While we were there, Laurie decided that she did want to see Hope's body one last time. They did a nice job with her; it almost looked like she was asleep. We took a few minutes with her and said a prayer before we left. I'm glad we decided to open the casket one last time. Last night was not the right time, but somehow, this morning it seemed the right thing to do.

The funeral service took place at Lodge Forest UMC. I carried her casket into the church from the hearse. Rev, Tony Hunt, Laurie's District Superintendent, gave the message. Tony had lost his 18-year old son a little over two years ago, so he seemed a good choice. Revs. Sandy Taylor, Ann Atkins, and Ann Adams, colleagues of Lauries, also participated in the service. In addition, Pastpr Patsy Fratanduano from Cedar Ridge Community Church took part. Phil Lazo, a friend of ours that lost his 8-year old daughter a few years back, sang two songs. The Lodge Forest Praise Band sang a couple of songs. People had an opportunity to share some words of comfort. I shared something that I had written—see below. Overall, the service was very nicely done.

There was a luncheon at Lodge Forest following the service. The folks at church did a nice job with lunch. If there is one thing that Methodists do well, it's putting together pot luck meals, and the people at Lodge Forest are very good when it comes to supporting people during times of loss.

Four of Laurie's six brothers were present today. Her brother John had to have heart surgery on Friday, and could not be present. Her brother Richard was attending the baptism of his granddaughter that was scheduled for this day long before the funeral had to be planned. Laurie's sister Wendy was also there, as was my brother John and his family. Many of our other friends came out to support us including a number of Laurie's pastoral colleagues. Steve Audi and Beverly DeFontes, who were best man and maid of honor at our wedding were there to stand with us today as we buried our daughter. Can you ask for better friends? They have been there to celebrate with us and also to mourn with us. To Bev and Steve, you will never know how much your presence has meant this past week. Thanks for being there!

After lunch, Laurie and I (along with Brady, Becca, Wendy, and Laurie's parents) went by limo to Miranda Cemetery in Calvert County where Hope was buried. The cemetery is associated with Huntingtown UMC, where my parents worship and where Laurie and I were married almost five years ago. Laurie and I bought a plot for ourselves and Hope can be laid to rest between the two of us—not something we had thought about prior to this week. The burial plot my father selected for us is very nice, located under trees near the wood edge.

Sandy Taylor, Ann Atkins, Ann Adams, and Rev. Patricia Siebrig from Huntingtown took part in the graveside service. Some family and friends who did not come up for the funeral, were present for the burial. Several of my father's friends were also at the burial.

Once the service was over, we made a brief stop at the parsonage of Huntingtown UMC so that Laurie could nurse Becca, and then we traveled back to Edgemere. We ate some of the leftovers from this afternoon's luncheon for dinner and then turned in for the night.

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