This was my children's first funeral. My parents attended the funeral as well, and I was glad because that way the kids could sit with them; I was in the front row with Hunter in the family section.
Tim (my almost 20 year old son) was originally scheduled to have jury duty but it was cancelled, so he called me in the morning to let me know he was coming.
It meant a lot to me.
The service was very moving. It was standing room only, and they even sat some people in the fellowship hall with a closed-circuit television. They had a very long slide show which I especially appreciated, since I have not known him that long and he's been sick since before I met him. It was great to see him healthy and active.
Hunter's son sat beside me and cried his heart out. I was so sad for him. He was very close with his Papa and clearly loved him. There were many pictures of the two of them together in the slide show, hunting and fishing and playing baseball, and at one point I looked over at him and his face was twisted in pain. I had to hunt down tissues for him because he was crying so hard and didn't want to wipe anything on his new suit. He was literally holding his tears in his hands. Heartbreaking.
It was a Law Enforcement funeral, which was a first for me. Police officers guarded the casket during the viewing and funeral. They do a very formal changing of guards and salute the casket. Very moving.
Our county sheriff attended the funeral; a former sheriff was at the viewing. Several judges were in attendance.
Many people got up and spoke about him. Not just the typical funeral "he was a great guy" stuff, but specific stories and testimony of what a truly wonderful man he was, and of the many lives he touched in his 67 years.
The funeral was held at the church that they have attended for over 20 years. It's a small church, but they are currently building a large new sanctuary. Hunter's dad said many times that he wanted his funeral to be in the new sanctuary, and would tease the pastor that they needed to hurry up and get it done. They contributed financially to that building, as well as donating materials.
It is nowhere near done still, but they wanted to do something special. So after the service, they wheeled his casket into that building, and in the midst of steel beams and 2x4s and stacks of material, said a prayer. It was great. I believe he would have loved that.
I wish I could really convey the emotion of the funeral, and the obvious respect that so many people had for this man. It was just so touching. I'm so honored to have been welcomed into this wonderful family, and to have been truly liked and appreciated by such a wonderful man. Every time he said Grace when we were all together, he thanked God for me and my children, and for bringing us into their lives. That meant so much.
Now, for Hunter's mom, comes the hard part. Everyone else will go back to their lives, while her life is left with a huge hole. We will be spending a lot of time with her. She is alone now, just her and their little dog. But we will make sure she's not alone too much. She also has many dear friends and of course her family who will be there for her.
Cancer stole away her husband, and stole a Papa away from four boys who clearly adored him. And way too young; he was only 67 years old. It's just not fair.