My dad's only sibling passed away this week. I attended his funeral in Provo, UTAH.
The most tender thing was watching all the grand kids and great grand kids as they sobbed near the casket of their loved one. They were going to miss him so much. He was truly a part of their lives.
Burial took place at the Provo City Cemetery. It was a beautiful sunny day but not hot. The view of the mountains was amazing.
Like my dad, my uncle served in the Army during the Korean War. Because my dad was a good typist, he was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany doing office work for the war. He maintained close friendships with those whom he served up until he died. My uncle's war experience was very different. He was in Korea, building prison camps, bridges, and doing other hard work on the front lines. The military played taps and did the special flag folding ceremony which they then gave to his wife.
My dad and my uncle grew were a lot alike. They both played sports, knew how to farm and garden, had an idyllic childhood in a small town where their dad was a teacher. When they grew up, they married very different women, and their family lives were very different.
Pictured are all my cousins, including their Indian foster-child. They are all each other's best friends and supporters. Living within 30 minutes of each other and their parents they are always the first ones to help each other. They are quick to say, "I love you" to each other and give a hug. They get together every Sunday for dinner.
Pictured in the foreground are the graves of my dad and both his parents.
Of my dad's family, all his children live on opposite sides of the country, West Coast and East coast, with a couple of us in Utah. We used to gather once a year for a reunion and after my parents' passings' we don't even do that. Our family valued more adventure, travel, and fun than family closeness. One example of this was from the remarks at the funeral. My uncle had a bucket list and on it was the wish to go skydiving. His son, told regretfully, that he had never accomplished it probably due to the fact that the family including his wife thought that would be a terrible idea. They even threatened to hide his keys if he pursued it.
I found this somewhat amusing as seated next to me was my sister who has been skydiving 4 times and my brother who basically did this for a living on the SEAL team. On the other side of my was my 12-year old, who accompanied me, and on the drive up had told me how much she wished to go skydiving.
Here is my skydiving sister and me (yet to try that) next to our dad's grave. I am sure he with his brother and parents are so happy to see each other again.
My mom was cremated, so we don't have a grave to visit. Her remains were spread just this year in the ocean at Dana Point by her grandchildren. I'm okay with that, I think. That was much more her style anyway. Conveniently located in the same cemetery are her parents.
I've been to a lot of funerals in my relatively young life. This one in particular really brought home the value that my uncle lived "family is everything." My cousins and I made a pact to do better at keeping in touch. Well, they are already pretty darn good at that but now they're going to be adding us to their gatherings.