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Then They Played Taps

by Frances J. Harvey, C.P.C.  
6/15/2014 / Death

Today is daddy's memorial service. It's a beautiful fall day, not cold, not to warm, the sun is out and big white clouds line the sky - it's my favorite kind of day. Fall was my daddy's favorite time of year!

I can't believe it. I have that feeling, the one that makes you feel like "I'm not gonna get through this" know where your stomach is flip flopping? He is being laid to rest at the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon and was honored as a Veteran of the USA National Merchant Marines Coast Guard. I cried all the way there!

As they brought him into the shelter where the service was, I cried to the point of not breathing. They removed the flag in the military way....careful and purposed folding. You could hear a pin drop! I am standing behind Mama, hand on her shoulder, next to Joann, Cindy sitting by mom, Rollie behind me. I know he is there holding me up, Andrew too. Christine sitting by Butch and Don standing on the side. All of my brothers and sisters are in my view and there is in a strange way a comfort in that. A young man that I have never seen before walked over to Mama and handed her this flag so perfectly folded in a triangle that honors daddy, as one who served his country! She didn't cry.

After the flag was removed, there was just a plain gray box! Nothing fancy, no carvings, no beautiful wood, no gold or silver. Almost as plain as he came in the world...he went out. For a brief second I thought, "Open the box and prove to me he's in there!" But I knew he was.

Next there was a gun salute - they brought her the 3 shells! As I looked at them in my mothers hands it reminded me of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. It also was a symbol of how our bodies are just a shell and when we die, they are emptied and it's our spirit and soul that live for eternity..."if we believe". A small glimpse of peace came. It is going to be alright!

Then they played TAPS. I never knew I could cry so fast so much. OMG...this has got to be one of THE most painful feelings I have gone through. Even though I know I will see him again, and be with him for eternity...for now it hurts. I felt so much sorrow and grief, my daddy was no longer on this earth!

We sang his favorite hymn, "Nearer My God to Thee" (well, tried to sing), Pastor Mike read the Epilogue, and then very simply spoke the Gospel - the hope we have if you believe that Jesus is God's Son, The Way, The Truth and The Life!

We closed singin "Because He Lives" -I can face tomorrow!

And then it was over. Less than 30 minutes - a life of almost 94 years - his body had been committed back to the earth. That was it. As we left the National Cemetery, I cried more tears thinking "will this feeling never end?" I have been crying for over two weeks now.

But as we began to gather at my mom's house to spend time with family and close friends, I knew it would get easier with time. Family IS healing. This family - The Hammond's - are uniquely blessed with a bond so tight, so close and so full of love that we will be able to move on. The glory goes to God - being a Christ centered/bonded family. And with that love of Christ, the love we have for one another and time, it will get a little easier each day. It will never go away until I see him again, but God promises His comfort. Listen for His tender words being spoken to your heart, "I Am Your God and I will be your comfort."

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (The Message)

3-5All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfortwe get a full measure of that, too.

So for now I will rest in His promise - Daddy is with Jesus!

Frances J. Harvey, C.P.C
I write when God speaks! I am a Certified Professional Life Coach and a Virtual Assistant Manager. My goal in life is to share Jesus and encourage others any way I can! I hope you are blessed. and

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