Sunday, February 18, 2018

Grandpa Richards' Funeral

February 10 was my grandpa's funeral.  Whenever we would leave my grandparents' house when I was a kid, Grandpa would do two things.  First, he would say, "Drive with care and buy Sinclair!" and then he would recite from memory these lines from Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner":
"Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.
He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all." 
We had heard these departing lines from him so many times that it is no surprise that we memorized them, and would recite them to him if he ever forgot to say them to us.  I don't know if the reality of Grandpa leaving this earth hit me until I recited his farewell to him quietly right before his casket was closed.  I couldn't make it through the whole thing.  Then Grandma got up and told him, "I love you!" and I was kind of a mess after that.  
Grandma spent all of the funeral with Uncle Charles.  She pulled him around with her like a security item, and introduced him to everyone, including his own children.  "I would like you to meet my twin brother, Charles.  He lost his wife recently, too."  She wouldn't sit down in the chapel for the funeral service until Charles was with her, and she saved a seat for him at the graveside in Logan. 
The funeral was over an hour long, as my mom delivered a eulogy, and each of my uncles spoke.  I hadn't thought to bring in activities to keep our kids occupied, but they were amazingly well behaved.  After all of the excitement of moving, Anni's kids fell asleep during the opening song and slept through the entire service.  The relief society in Grandma and Grandpa's ward in Murray provided boxed lunches to eat on the drive up to Logan.  We made a child swap in Roy, so B rode with Anni and Maren rode with us, and then we stopped at a grocery store for the kids to use the bathroom.  I think we were the last ones to arrive at the graveside.  Grandma was already freezing.  I loaned her Eloise's hat. 
 Seth came! He is my grandparents' only grandson.  He drove out from New York (because he is crazy) on his way to move to Georgia.  He was thinking of not staying for the funeral, but, since he was there, he was extremely helpful in moving Anni and Ryan, supporting our mom through the funeral, cleaning, working, and generally being awesome.  I wish we saw more of Seth. 

Because Grandpa was a veteran, he got military honors for his funeral.  Military burials are very beautiful, I think.  They really know how to honor the fallen in a meaningful and symbolic way. 
 After the funeral we adjourned to our old ward building a couple of blocks from the cemetery where our nice old ward set us up with desserts.  My kids thought it was great that they were in the building where I used to go to church when I was a kid.  They also liked that there was a giant beanbag chair on the stage that they could jump onto from a table.  It was nice to have a chance to catch up with my cousins Brooke and Abby.  Grandma hilariously thought that Faith was Joy.  Joy is from Kenya and has beautiful dark skin and curly hair.  The only thing Faith and Joy have in common, as far as I can tell, is that they are both fantastic, amazing people.  Joy was laughing so hard I thought she was going to cry. 

When everything was over, we stopped at the Logan temple and asked a passerby to take our family's picture.  This is where Todd and I were married, and sealed for time and all eternity eleven and a half years ago.  It is also where my grandparents got married 67 years ago.  This place is a symbol of our faith that our family can be together again after we die.  Heavenly Father intends for families to continue after death.  We know that we will see Grandpa again, and that the relationships we build on earth can last into the eternities.  
 Thanks for always being here for us, Grandpa. 
We will see you soon. 

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