Blog on Thanksgiving, my father in law's death and gift giving
|November 27, 2006
I hope you had a wonderful, peaceful and family
friendly Thanksgiving! (Or
at least had it the way you chose.)
Iím glad itís over, and I want you to remind
me not to attempt such at home shenanigans again!
(Grin) Next holiday,
letís let the restaurant experts fix the food and weíll just sit
down to dinner and pay them a nice tip.
I donít mind the cooking really, it can be
exciting, but I HATE deadlines. I
donít like to be pinned down to a certain time to have it on the
table. Then I donít like
having my mind on what I have to DO, instead of being with the people I
love. I guess I would have been a Mary, and need to stop trying to
be a Martha.
Last Tuesday my father in law died in Florida.
I had been asking for prayers for him for some time, his name is
Lavern Tyler. He left a
wife, Marlene and daughter Phyllis and her family.
He had been in the hospital awhile, had kidney failure, diabetes
and heart problems. His
passing wasnít wanted, but it was a relief from suffering for him.
The funeral was so lovely.
It was small, only a handful of close family members even got the
news that he had died, since the holiday was in the middle of the
Eddie Humes and his wife did the service and I have to say, I canít
imagine a nicer word spoken, or more sincerely, than Brother Eddie gave.
He had us laughing, crying, and looking forward to Heaven.
At the graveside, there were 3 people in uniforms
that said, ďhonor guardĒ. One
lady played the bugle, (I think it must have been ďtapsĒ), and two
men who folded the flag that was over the casket.
I was amazed at how crisp the colors of that flag were.
(All the flags Iíve seen were bleached in the sunshine and
Iíve never seen this done before, and it really
moved me. I thought, how
nice it is to cry over something meaningful.
You know, we cry over sad movies, or when someone hurts our
feelings, and when weíre angryÖbut most of those tears donít mean
anything. To cry over something because it touches you deeply and you
appreciate what is happening, that feels really good.
The two men held the flag up over the casket, and
then stepped to the side. One
man began folding it from one corner to another, and after each fold, he
ran his white gloved hand down the fold to crease it flat, and when the
flag was folded all the way that it could go, the other man tucked in
the remaining 2 or 3 inches so it was a package that would stay folded.
Then the man who had done the folding, held it against his chest
and with the same ceremony and respect he creased each of the 3 sides of
the flag, turning it before he smoothed each side.
It was so beautiful.
Then the other man took the flag and knelt before
my mother in law and presented it to her with a memorized speech.
In times when people are turning against war and
the military, and when all you hear about is the number of both sides
killed, itís really nice to see the honor and the glory the uniform
represents. Not the
country, but the best of the heart of man.
I wish every person who dies could have someone
stand at attention and give respect to his memory.
When my first husband died, as the funeral
procession drove through town to the cemetery, there were police
stationed at each intersection, standing at attention.
That really impressed me too.
Some cars remembered to pull over and stop as the funeral went
by. My son Daniel asked me
how anyone knew these things, because they arenít taught in school,
and no one talks about it. Itís
not in the motor vehicle handbook.
Yes, thatís one of the things society has failed
in. It was the duty of
grandparents and parents to pass down traditions like this, and then one
day the family fell apart and now we all live far away from each other,
so we can have ďelbow roomĒ.
Today we fuss about immigrants and blame them for
diluting our morals and traditions and taking away benefits that our old
folks need. How foolish.
These are but our poor brothers who knock on our door asking for
bread. Didnít the Lord
say to feed the hungry, and to clothe the naked, and to give to anyone
who asked? I thought He
said that He provides the
supply, and we are to be His ambassadors on earth.
If our children are not taught itís not because
someone I never met came from a land Iíve never visited and asked to
do a job I wouldnít stoop to do.
If my family isnít receiving benefits, itís
not because they gave it to the poor, itís because the money was spent
by people wearing suits Iíll never be able to afford, who live in
houses that make mine look like an outhouse for slaves.
They voted and found us expendable.
Ooops, Iím delving into politics and opinion.
Back to the weekend. On
the way home the traffic was horrible.
Iíve never experienced driving on an interstate during a
holiday rush either. That
was quite an educational experience. (Again, remind me not to be so stupid again.)
Just because we want to have a Thanksgiving holiday, who says we
all have to do it on the same day?
What would happen if we chose our holidays and
scheduled things when it was convenient and took turns driving on the
roads and buying gifts?
What would happen if we stopped doing things
altogether that we do because we feel obligated and just did what we
truly believed was important and would give our families lasting
memories of us?
Itís not that they donít get lasting memories
now, but some of the things our grandchildren will remember about some
of us, shouldnít be printed.
I wondered if my family would postpone the funeral
until the week after Thanksgiving, but it seems there is an urge to
hurry and get it over with and move on.
Maybe there was a superstition years ago that the last generation
remembers vaguely or maybe itís from intense marketing campaigns by
funeral homes in the 50ís and 60ís to turn the preparations over to
them and let them make it convenient for us.
I didnít feel that way about my husband.
I wanted it to last forever.
In fact I would have kept him in the living room in a glass
coffin if I had found such a thing. We had two funerals in two states and even then it was over
Either way is all right, and Iím sure we wonít
have many funerals during holidays to make it become a real problem.
It was WONDERFUL to see my family, those I
hadnít seen in 10 years, and some longer than that.
I saw nephews and nieces grown into fine men and women, beautiful
I found a new love and appreciation for my mother
in law, and my respect for my brother in law deepened greatly as I saw
him stand by her side. He
has always been more like a son to them than an in law.
He wasnít even born in this country or in this religious
belief, but he has personified the ideal of a good father, good husband
and good steward all of his life.
I donít know how I could love them all any more
than I do. Only being able
to show it, thatís the question.
Flattery is cheap; gifts are silly if you canít
afford them, and we live so far away we donít spend much time
together. I shall think on
Last night God gave me another dream, and showed
me some areas of my life I need to focus on.
One is teaching my grandchildren the important things, spending
time with them, and showing them that I worship the Lord.
Another is to look to the Holy Spirit for the
ďrainĒ in my life, and not to the earth waters only.
Thatís a spiritual thing.
I was so preoccupied with trying to fix the old well that I
ignored the rain heavy clouds in the heavens.
In other words, remember Ė remember Ė God
sends the supply and abundance, look to the Lord and be thankful!
So we turn our thoughts towards Christmas, to the
pretty lights and making lists of things weíd like to do for our loved
ones. Chris is noticing the
lights more this year as we drive by them.
I promised he could put up his Christmas tree in the kitchen when
we got home from the trip. Maybe
tomorrow. I also have to
cook the Thanksgiving turkey tomorrow, because itís finally thawed in
the fridge. (Tee hee)
I really want this year to be all about things
that count, what really matters most to my heart, and what people REALLY
need. Iím sick of longing
to buy presents and having to get junk because there isnít money to
buy the nice things. Instead
I think Iíll copy Thoreau and do nothing rather than something
The babies need their gifts, in moderate amounts,
and MUCH more attention and in person fun time.
Grandparents and parents NEED to make tapes or written journals
of where they come from and what the past was like, and what they
believe, to leave to their descendants.
Those of us who happen to have money, should spend
it wisely and invest in something that will be meaningful or helpful for
years to come. Collections
of expensive useless decorations will become junk that somebody has to
hire a crew to haul away.
The beautiful things you bought may not mean
anything to the ones you would give it to.
So think of service coupons, personal chores to do for someone,
and home made things that tell of the past.
If you have a gift or talent to teach and can pass
it on, youíve given of yourself and protected the human race.
Thatís a gift inside of a memory that will keep on giving for
generations to come.
(PS, be sure to wrap that gift in laughter and
label it with forgiveness.)
(PPS: next year letís join the Christmas club! Or go back to the way it was for centuries. All year long adults and children made simple little things, like doilies and dolls, towards Christmas and nobody planned on it being a "cash in" party. What's wrong with giving hand embroidered pillow cases?)