Tag Archives: Funeral

Fair Winds and Following Seas

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George H. W. Bush’s service dog says goodbye for the final time (N.Y. Times)

I have rarely met high and lofty people, but there have been a few, very few.

During my deployment, which occurred while George W. Bush was President, his father made a trip into theater and shared some impromptu chatter with everyone present in the theater/chapel/auditorium/etc. building. The only specific I remember is that his son, “W,” had switched from jogging to riding a bicycle. He had a habit of, well, trying to be as courteous as possible, succumbing to gravity (i.e., falling down). George senior said that he and Barbara both wished he’d choose a safer physical activity.

After he made his comments from the stage, I saw him outside chatting with a number of the enlisted folks and junior officers (in desert cammies, we all looked pretty much alike). I would have liked to have joined them, but my presence would have distracted from their time with “41,” so I went about my business. He knew where he needed to spend his time and so did I. 

Among those in the Navy, the traditional, final farewell is “Fair winds and following seas.” May the wind fill your sails without threatening your ship and may the tide be favorable to your trip.

Mr. President, you were truly an officer and a gentleman; not perfect, but a very real human being. You are in a better place, with your wife and your daughter, and you deserve to be with the ones you loved.

 

 

Thoughts on Death

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Nobody had more fun with death that Charles Addams

People stopped dying many years ago. Instead of dying, they passed away, then they passed on. Today, they merely pass.

People don’t like the idea of death. Many Christians look at death as the consequence of sin, and see their revulsion in both emotional and spiritual terms. Jesus himself was offended by death. When he entered the tomb of Lazarus in order to raise him from the dead, he reacted strongly to the presence of death. On the night before He died, he prayed that He be spared the suffering and death that awaited him.

Christians generally believe that there is a better existence in the next life than in this one. Many other faiths have similar beliefs, but most everyone believes that getting there is not half the fun. We seem to expect that it’s like birth – a bit of a chore.

Back when people died, they often died at home surrounded by family. Now they pass in the hospital surrounded by machines that make funny noises.

Back when they still died, the deceased was cleaned up, placed in a casket, and placed in the parlor.

Having grandpa’s body downstairs was the social norm but still kind of weird.  Morticians began to offer “funeral parlors” and the deceased was viewed there. Because of the previous macabre connotation, the “parlor” was renamed as the “living room.”

I noticed that many mortuaries now advertise “funeral apartments.”

I have to wonder if they expect a security deposit and references.

At least they don’t advertise “funeral condominiums.” Heaven only knows what restrictions the condo association would impose.

So we relabel, market, advertise, glamorize and use all our other skills to disguise the fact that people die. Some people convince themselves that they won’t die by cryogenically freezing their bodies in the belief that someday someone somehow will find the cure for what killed them and bring them back.

Even with Universal Healthcare, bringing back someone who died two hundred years ago is not going to be a priority.  Bottom line is that they’re just as dead – they’re just frozen spending a couple hundred years as a corpse-sicle.

Let’s just admit it, we’re all going to die.

When I’m dead and gone, you’re going to admit that I was right.