Marty’s Arlington National Cemetery service exceeds words, just as my grief for my missing him every day no words seem to be enough.
We had 40+ family and friends in attendance. I hired a photographer and am delighted with that decision. Sorry I didn’t add their video services. Even experiencing my WWII veteran Dad ’s services at Calverton, I wasn’t prepared to revisit the humbling and powerful ceremony.
Two days before the services I received a call from the Chaplain. He was comforting and also wanted to know if I’d like to say something. He gave me 2 of his 7 minutes, suggested I write it down, (I already did that before his call) and then, email him a copy. So often I wondered if I would be able to say something and he assured me if, for whatever reason I could not, he would do so for me.
All cars approached to park at the service area, just a short walk from the Columbarium. As we got out of our cars, about 5 planes, and helicopters flew and hovered a bit over our place! Everyone who knew Marty knew/remembered he had worked on or supervised those who worked on planes! I was in awe of this God wink.
The escort sat each of us and some had to stand. She said some beginning words. The bugler played taps. The 7 airman for the 21 gun salute stood off at a distance as the Chaplain lead this reassuring service and mostly, giving honor to my husband. Again, I heard those words for my dad in November 2016 however, hearing them for Marty was utterly uplifting. I knew my husband’s heart for the military.
Then I spoke and thanked God it was only those 2 minutes. I could barely hold it together. However, I found the platform, professional speaker in me come to my rescue! I played the video a couple of people forwarded me and unbelievably – people laughed JUST where I hoped.
Then more airman folded the flag. Too funny and I KNOW Marty was laughing: they made a mistake in the folding the first time and had to unfold and do it ALL over again. When they handed it to my son, it was perfect. I asked my son if he wanted the flag. He’s got such stress with his high conflict divorce I know he’s not entirely grieving. I hoped this would help ease some pain, deep within him.
My son was more comforted by something I had not experienced with my dad’s services: the Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s wife came up to the two of us as we sat, and said some comforting words as well. She left us with a sympathy card from this department.
Finally, our escort asked for 2 volunteers, who just jumped up without even hearing the assignment. She wanted them to hand out the red roses I ordered we would place at the niche. Thankfully, God guided me to request not just enough roses for the 24 RSVPs I knew of, but 36. We were only short 4 roses, but couples shared.
I wanted to and did, place Marty’s urn in the niche. A final prayer from the chaplain at the niche and then, all of us were invited to give a final good bye, touching the urn if we wanted and then we laid the roses on the ground. One of our friends, gave a gentle fist bump to the urn as that is what she and Marty always did.
It was a beautiful gift; I received about 36 hours of complete peace after this. However, soon after that, the pain and anguish of missing this man who meant everything to me, came flooding back. That was centered round what Marty and I would often, every other day practically, say lovingly to each other, "You, mean everything to me.”
Friends who took pics forwarded beautiful photos. It was amazing to me that the roses were so perfectly laid there by family and friends. And thank YOU for reading.
Thank you for sharing. I am glad your experience at ANC "exceeded words." It sounds like it was a wonderful and moving service honoring your Marty. I am glad you and your son found some comfort there, that you were able to say what you wanted, that there were enough roses, that you were able to place your beloved Marty's urn in the niche, and that you were even able to find some humor in the flag folding situation. My husband was buried in our local cemetery with military honors and I also found that a humbling and moving experience. It has been over 10 years and I still teared up reading your post. Each day that my husband was home we told each other that we loved each other. I miss that and so much more.
Life has gotten much kinder with time. The knife through my heart is gone and I can smile at memories without the tears coming, most of the time. It is a much different retirement life now than I had planned, but it is good. It has been a long journey for me getting to this point, with many distractions along the way, but I finally feel at peace. I keep in contact with the military through SOS (Survivor Outreach Services) and have dinner with other military survivors most months. I have found it is a good way to stay connected to that part of my life.
Your pain and anguish will subside with time, even though it may not seem like it now. We will always carry them with us in our heart. I pray that you find peace and a happy life in your time.
Thank you Lyn, for comforting words from what sounds like, being further down this path. Marty died August 28th, just 3 days after his 68th birthday. Indeed as he told me on the sudden return back to the cardiac intensive care unit, we had 47 years of a most wonderful life together.
I feel, happiness and even arguments, deepened the awesomeness, along the way. I love him, I miss him. What I feel I'm left with is learning to live with that wonderful life and memories in my heart. I don't see a way over this path, or through it, just beside it. Then, as you say, over time this heartbreak and anguish will subside. I pray.