A tough, tough day.
At the hotel last night, I slept very little. No outside influences keeping me awake, just my mind working over the fact that Roaul is gone.
Mom, Beck and I got up early, went down for breakfast, and loaded up the car. Mom had already made up her mind that she would be ready to head for the mountain at the end of the day, and that was probably the best answer for her.
We went the mortuary, and began meeting and greeting relatives and friends. Many of them we had just seen a year and a half ago at dad’s funeral — it’s a shame that this is the only time we see each other, and that it had been such a short time since our last meeting.
I got to see Bill and Devon Prichard. This was the first time I’d seen Bill since my and Kevio’s trip to San Diego in the late 1970’s. I’d not seen Devon in about 15 years, the last time during a trip he took to Omaha in the mid 1980’s. I don’t know if I would’ve recognized either one of them.
The director gathered the “active” pallbearers together — there were honorary pallbearers, too — and seated us down front. While that was the right thing to do, I hated not being at mom’s side, there for her as she needed. Becky and family surrounded her, though, so that made it more bearable.
The service was very nice, and the key piece buried in the message was that Roaul had found the Lord. He emphatically told the preacher this, close to the end of his life. That’s thrilling! He and Dad are, I’m sure, having a great time, reliving the “old days”, and wondering why we’re all so sad down here.
We all piled up in our vehicles, and travelled to the cemetary for the graveside services. Roaul was a veteran of the US Air Force (kinda runs in the family, I guess), and given a full military ceremony — color guard, 21-gun salute, and Taps. It was fitting, and proper, and I was very moved by it.
We piled in our cars again, and went to Merilyn’s house. This was probably the first time I’d been in the house in at least twenty years, and it was almost exactly as I remembered it. Friends and family gathered, and in true Southern style, we ate and talked, remembered Roaul, and spun tales that we’d heard before, and revelled in their re-telling one more time.
Roaul’s Obituary [The Oak Ridger]
Radio Amateur Club of Knoxville (RACK) Obituary