Destination: Funeral

You know how some people have a destination wedding? Well, I’m having a destination funeral. Oh, it’s not for me, it’s for my dad. He’s going to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

I looked at the Shutterfly site to find a suitable funeral announcement, but there were none there. I thought about adapting a birth announcement–the one with the picture of the baby sleeping and the words “Pure Heaven” underneath. I have a photo of my dad in extremis that would work nicely.

My dad will be buried with full military honors. It sounds like it will be quite a production, with a caisson, a bugler, and a 21-shot salute (3 guns, 7 shots each). My dad converted to Catholicism during his adult life, but I was raised a Protestant so I opted for the chaplain of that stripe. Sorry, Pop.

I’m not much for the war culture, but it was the Air Force that gave my dad a job and the GI Bill, and it was the Navy that gave him a commission and sent him to Vietnam. He earned a place in Arlington National Cemetery, and it is my duty to see that he gets there.

His cremains (yes, that’s the word for cremated remains) are now sitting on top of the piano. His Vietnam Veteran cap sits on top of the box holding the cremains.  The box is wrapped in plain brown paper. I tied a bow around the box at Christmas time (my dad was a festive guy). When I thought to remove the bow in early February, I realized that Valentine’s Day was approaching and red was still appropriate.

I would like that box to stay on top of the piano. I’d like to decorate it with a green ribbon for St. Patrick’s Day. I’d like to put the red ribbon back on for Whitsunday. But by then, the box will be far away in Arlington National Cemetery.

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5 Responses to “Destination: Funeral”

  1. Roberta Says:

    Funny how comfortable one can be with death and related death things. Growing up in a fairly extended, but geographically close, family helps. I hope that your journey will be a good one.
    Fair winds and following seas.

  2. Ann Erdman Says:

    I love the concept of decorating the cremains box. I have no doubt he would like the idea.

  3. Pasadena Adjacent Says:

    Maybe you can keep a pinch of dad around for your decorating please. I have a clip f my dads hair.

  4. Pasadena Adjacent Says:

    *pleasure
    *of
    (bad spell check – bad proofreader)

  5. Patricia Wallis Wehr Says:

    Beautifully written Kelly, Don’t forget his birthday, April 1st. Over the past 10 or so years, living in Placerville I would call him and wish him a NO Fools birthday. Cousin Patti Wallis Wehr. Aunt Louise’s daughter.

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