On Sunday, October 2nd, we had a service at the funeral home, officiated by Pastor Wendy Cook, followed by a service at the cemetery. Both services were beautiful. As I recall the procession from the funeral home to the cemetery, especially the moment when we stopped at the firehouse for a “last call” of the siren, I can’t help but think that dad was probably smiling down and saying, “That’s fantastic! What a nice job!”
The readings at the gravesite were particularly poignant to me, beginning with the gentle words read by Pastor Wendy and this poem which was read by cousin Pamala:
Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep . . . by Mary Elizabeth Frye
Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush, I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there. I did not die.
I have already forgotten if the poem came before or after this prayer, which I had the privilege of reading:
Prayer for the Departed . . . from the Baha’i Writings
O my God! O Thou forgiver of sins, bestower of gifts, dispeller of afflictions! Verily, I beseech thee to forgive the sins of such as have abandoned the physical garment and have ascended to the spiritual world.
O my Lord! Purify them from trespasses, dispel their sorrows, and change their darkness into light. Cause them to enter the garden of happiness, cleanse them with the most pure water, and grant them to behold Thy splendors on the loftiest mount.
And to close out the readings, my cousin Marcy chanted this beautiful Baha’i verse, which seemed to echo off the trees and through the valley, sending a plea to the heavens to embrace my dad on his journey to the next world:
O SON OF SPIRIT!
With the joyful tidings of light I hail thee: rejoice! To the court of holiness I summon thee; abide therein that thou mayest live in peace forevermore.
Dad’s casket was then placed by my brother and his three sons, as well as my cousin John, in its final resting place — the mausoleum which dad built out of bluestone from his own quarry. As you can see in the photo, three Navy representatives, were there. The moment the Navy guy (you can barely see him in the back) played taps, my heart was pierced with the sound, the reality, the finality of this service. Love you, dad.