Sunday, December 11, 2011

In loving memory of Pops

I've never blogged about a funeral service and honestly, never wanted to... but this was such a special day, filled with blessings and love, I feel it should be preserved.

After a couragious battle with cancer, Blake's dear father, Pops, went home to Jesus on Wednesday, December 7th.   While our hearts are heavy, we rejoice that he is no longer sick or in pain. He's home.  Things kinda happened fast here at the end, but I look upon that as God's mercy and grace.  And today we sent Pops off exactly how he would have wanted it....

Blake's brother, Rusty, works for a cabinet shop and the owner, Leonard, is also a dear friend of Ma and Pops. (They all do SCV rifle aand cannon shoots together.) Pops always told Leonard he wanted him to build him a 'pine box' when the time came.   Last Friday Pops asked Leonard if he was ready to build his box. Leonard replied 'no, but he would if had to', meaning he really didn't want Pops to go, but he would honor his request. The minute Leonard got the call on Wednesday morning he dropped everything, went home to a stack of Georgia white pine cut from his own property and personally selected the lumber. Then he stopped all the work in his shop and they set to work to make a 'pine box' for Pops. This pine casket was handcrafted by loving hands in less than 2 days. The guys at the shop felt it an honor to make Pops' final resting place, and  Blake and Rusty also helped on the finishing touches. It was so beautiful. Simple, sweet, and absolutely perfect. (Based on the comments and questions asked at the visitation and funeral, Leonard could make a fortune selling these, if he chose to pursue this side-line business out of his cabinet shop!)   We propped Pops favorite fishing pole up next to the casket, and scattered his favorite fishing lures on the spray of greenery on top, as well as his SCV cap. On the front and top of the casket a simple cross made of walnut. Tucked inside his coat pocket, was a silly picture he had kept  that I took of Dasher, Pops' beloved dog.   Clasped in his hand was a sprig of hemlock pine from the tree that grows outside the kitchen where all the little birdies and squirrels gather to eat the seeds he always provided for them. This tree was transplanted from a tiny sprig that Ma brought back from a camping trip to Lake Conasauga, and planted in honor of Ian's birth.   Next to the casket was a picture of Pops taken when they visited their friends the McKenzies at Dunnottar Castle in Scotland. In this picture Pops was dressed in a kilt, jauntily leaning against the castle-lodge wall.    

Rusty and Blake picked out several songs... Angel Band (from the Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack), Do You Know, Wayfaring Stranger, and best of all  ~ we exited the chapel to 'McMichen's Reel'...played from an old recording of Clayton McMichen, a famous fiddler from the early 1920-30s, who was kin to Pops.   He would have wanted us to carry him out in celebration, with a happy song.

Upon arriving at the cemetary, a piper played for us. Pops loved the pipes, so Ma requested a piper play for us. Amazing Grace, as well as a few other hymns, and finally a lively 'Scotland the Brave'.  It gave me a good way, (although it was also VERY cold and windy out there today!)

Late last night (the night before the funeral), Blake put down these words about his dear Daddy....

 ~ He Cared ~
He was a gentle man...
Always Caring,
Always Sharing,
His own troubles
   Rarely impairing him.
He cared for us all.

He was a Gentleman.
Always thoughtful...
Rarely boastful,
Life was never
   Doubtful to him,
he cared for us all.

And he was a genteel man...
Respectful of God's Light,
Always and ever so polite,
Life fully knighted him
To care for us all.

He was always there...
Ever in waiting,
Ever permeating
   Our life's urgent call,
Because he cared for us all.
                                            HBMc 12/9/11

All in all, it was a hard day, but also a beautiful day filled with blessings.
It's been a loooooooong day.... filled with tears, sorrow, and heartache but it was also covered with prayers, memories, stories and moments of loving joy. We sent Pops off just how he would have wanted it. And I'm so happy to have known him, and loved him, and been loved by him.   Despite all the pain, I just feel so incredibly blessed.

Having our family, our church family, and friends near and far surround us in their love and support is an awesome experience. Words can not express how folks have made us feel.  I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your prayers, words of comfort and support.   Having this blessing, the Lord's comforting arms around us, and by leaning on each other, we'll carry on...just as Pops would want us to do.  


Very Lazy Daisy said...

A very fitting tribute with all the little details that would mean so much to him. Thanks for sharing this in a blog post, it's very touching. It's very telling that you all knew just the things to do... you're a close family that knows and loves one another very well.

Donna Mc said...

Thank you, Daisy.

Marcie said...

Such a beautiful post Donna. What a loving family and a wonderful legacy that Pops leaves behind. I'm so sorry for your family's pain, but so grateful that you were able to send your father in law off in the way he would have wanted. ((((Donna and Family)))