Friday, October 16, 2009

Saying Goodbye

The past 2 weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions and events. When Richard passed away on October 1st, it didn't seem like reality to me until I went to Yahn & Sons Funeral Home to see his body and sit in while Annette and her kids were making the arrangements for Richard's funeral. The reality set in for me when Richard's family started to arrive. His brother John and his wife Shay stayed with us along with Eric and his wife Mary. I was very happy to see them all, however I wish that it would have been under different circumstances. Soon after that, Richard's brother Mike and some of his family and his mother Thora showed up. I can only imagine the pain that goes with burying your own child, it is a pain that I hope to never experience. I could see the emotions in her eyes and I wished that I could do something to help make it a little easier. I can't go through right now and name everybody that came but it was really nice to see how many people came from so far away to say goodbye to Richard. It really does say a lot about him and how many people's lives he touched and how much he meant to a lot of people. The day of his funeral was a day filled with happiness and sadness, rememberance, thoughts and memories. We set out a table full of his favorite things which had everything from his favorite movies, candies, cereal, the figures that he'd paint, computer games and things that he enjoyed doing. Peter and Nicole put together a nice photo collage of him and his family which was really well done, his neice Sharon drew a picture of Richard and Annette which was absolutely beautiful, it was one of those drawings where you only use dots to create your picture. I don't remember what that style of artwork is called but it is very nice and she did a great job. With my wealth of computer knowledge (not really) I put together a memorial video with a LOT of help from Eric and our friend Jeremy Chevalier, I would not have been able to get it done in time if you guys didn't help me out so thank you very much!! There were lots of flowers that were sent from my parents in Massachusetts, Richard's family, his co-workers, friends and the florist that we got some nice arrangements from. At the viewing it was a nice moment for me when Grace went up to the casket to give Grandpa the monkey that she bought for him so he could have something from her to take with him. She reached up and put it next to his arm and said I'm really going to miss Grandpa. It brought tears to my eyes because I know how much she loved him and how much fun they had together. After the viewing we moved into the chapel to have his service where some of his family members got up to speak and say some words for him. Eric gave his "eugoogely". I was really surprised at how good of a "eugoogelizer" he was. That was a quote from a movie which is one of the fun things that we all do in his family which Eric touched on during his talk. Eric read some words on Richard's life which were written by Richard himself. A few years back Mary did a class assignment where she had to profile some family members and Richard wrote about his life. It was really nice to hear how he viewed and remembered his own life. Richard's brother John got up to speak about him too and that was difficult for me to hear because of all the family members that we have in the Salmond family, my little family is probably closest to John, Shay and their kids. From the time that we lived in Utah from 1997-1999, they have been really special to us. As I was sitting there listening to John talk about his childhood memories of him and his brother it got me thinking of my two brothers and my two sisters and the other members of my family and how difficult it would be for me to be on that podium talking about the times we shared and saying goodbye. One by one all of Richard's kids went up to say goodbye to their father and that was another difficult moment. When Desiree went up to the podium she was obviously sad for the loss of her dad and one of the sweet moments of the day that I won't forget was Grace walking up to the steps and turning to me and saying I want to go hug her daddy. She went up to Desiree during one of the most difficult moments of her life and offered some comfort with a little hug. Next when Nicolette went up to talk, Gracie wanted to be up there with her so Nicolette let her stand up there too. When Nicolette was finished talking Gracie leaned into the microphone and said I love you Grandpa which was very nice and then she followed that with an I love you to her best friend Anna who was there too. The service was very nice and it was great to hear how everyone spoke of him. The recurring theme of the night was how generous, thoughtful, caring, selfless and helpful he was. I know that during the years that I got to know him he helped me and my family on numerous occasions and I will be forever grateful for everything that he has done for us whether it was advice, help with daycare, financial help or opening up his home to us when we needed a place to stay. I learned a lot of lessons from him and hope to be able to have such an impact on half as many people that he did. When the service at the church ended it was time to go to Tahoma National Cemetery where he would be laid to rest. Annette and her sons asked me if I would be one of the pall bearers for Richard's casket. She said that although I was not his son by birth, I was still one of his sons and that meant a lot to me. When it came time to leave the church and load the casket into the hearse we were on our way out the door and Grace ran up to me and wanted to help. I told her that she couldn't help carry the casket and that she could stand there with me as we were loading him into the car. The funeral director looked at Grace and asked if she would like to close the door after he was put inside and she said yes. After she closed the door she placed her hand on it and said I love you so much Grandpa and then looked at me and said Grandpa is gone now, I'll never see him again. It was a sad moment for me because I know that she understands what is happening and that she was sad. I told her that although she will never see him again, Grandpa will always be with her and she said I know, Grandpa is my Angel now. The things she does and says amazes me on a daily basis. I love how much love she has for her family and how smart she is. Because Richard is a Military Veteran he had a funeral with full Military honors. I have never been to a funeral like that, I have only seen them on tv and in the movies. He was given the 21 gun salute which was very nice, I got a chill down my back when the guns fired. One of the most moving part of the entire day for me was when the American Flag that was on his casket was folded and presented to Annette. Eric was the one who presented the flag to his mother. That is where most of my tears were shed.. I was sitting two seats away and you could hear a pin drop but I had a hard time hearing Eric. He had to perform the duties of presenting the flag to a woman who was burying her husband while going through the emotions of burying his father. That was truly something I will never forget. I know it was difficult to say the words that he had to say and I am really proud of him for wanting to do that. I know I would have a hard time doing that if I were in his shoes. Another part of the ceremony that hit me was when Taps was sounded. That is when I realized that the day was coming to a close and we were saying goodbye for the final time. When that was finished it was time for all of us pallbearers to bring Richard to the cart that would transport him to his plot where he would be laid to rest. I was at the rear of the casket when we were loading him onto the cart and I felt Grace standing next to me and helping me lift the casket onto the cart. That was another one of those moments from his funeral that I will never forget. Once the services were finished we all went back to the church where we had a catered dinner. Richard's family paid to have Famous Dave's Barbecue catered for us all. That was one of Richard's favorite places to eat and that is why they did that for us all. It was a nice time for us all to sit and talk and remember Richard in our own ways. Although I am very sad that he is gone, I will never forget him and what he meant to us all. His death has really made me think about a lot of things in a different way than I viewed them before. Richard, you will be missed, you will be thought of every day in one way or another and you will never be forgotten. Thank you for all that you have done for me and my family. Thank you for loving Annette and raising such a wonderful family. Nicolette and Grace have been the biggest joys of my life and I thank you for that, for allowing me to be a part of your family. We love you and we miss you. ~10/16/09


Mary said...

We loved being able to spend some time with you guys!!
Amazing recount of that day, it was very powerful.
Sending love & hugs your way!

Moose Magnet said...

That was very well written. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for letting us stay with you while we were there.

Justin Glennon said...

You guys are always welcome to stay with us. It was great to see you again. Say hi to everyone for us.