Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bob's Memorial

Have you ever attended a memorial service for a member of the police department?

Yesterday was the only one of my life. It was deeply moving; Bob's life was eloquently, beautifully honored. I've had difficulty getting on with things today; my heart is still with Bob's widow, Ginny, with his family...and in a way, it's still with Bob. (If you missed my other posting about Bob, it's here.)

His memorial service was held in a large church, because a great number of Seattle Police officers were in attendance, including the Chief of Police. They gave his widow a motorcycle escort to the church. There was a color guard, which set me off crying right away. There were so many blue uniforms in the congregation that I couldn't guess at a number. Strong, dedicated men and women in crisp, immaculate outfits, quietly shedding tears, or stoically holding them back. There was a bagpiper playing "Amazing Grace."

Bob served the Seattle Police Department for 30 years in a variety of capacities. His partner on the police force, Russell Weklych, spoke so eloquently that there is no way I could do justice to what he said. Apparently, he and Bob were a legendary team on the force (according to the Chief, and others who spoke). Officer Weklych (I don't know his rank) spoke in the form of a letter to Bob, revisiting how they met and became a team, the growth of their trust in one another, working out and on the range, their experiences patrolling the streets of Seattle, catching criminals, and in close friendship, off-duty.  He stopped many times during the eulogy to compose himself. I prayed for him when he paused. It was agonizing, but beautiful.

Someone read a gorgeous poem that Bob had written to his wife when they were dating. Words were shared from friends and family, woven together by a dear friend who is also a pastor. Many of the stories brought great laughter, and many brought back happy memories. Some showed aspects of Bob that we hadn't known; he was a multi-faceted man. There was a slideshow and an open microphone.

His romantic, idealistic spirit; devotion to his family; his love for catching and stopping criminals; his habit of telling long, rambling stories, beginning with the phrase, "I remember the time...;" his huge frame, his athleticism, enthusiasm, sarcasm, intelligence, integrity, affection, colorful vocabulary, gentleness and humor were all touched upon by those who spoke. His enormous faith, his desire to grow in it; his lifelong, studious efforts to that end, and his unwavering dedication to it were described in detail.

For me, the most difficult part of this is that he died so young. I am heartbroken by that fact. It hurts me deeply, personally, for him, for his wife and family, that he is gone. I respect his great integrity and faithfulness to his beliefs. I admire and love him for those qualities; there is not a sweeter man walking this earth. My deepest hope is that his faith gave him all the comfort in the world during his illness. I wish he had received the healing he so faithfully prayed for - and that he were still here, making the world a better place, doing what he loved to do as a husband, police officer and stepfather.

I've read about "complex grief" before, and now I know what it is. This is it. Bob had his path, and I am glad that he was free to walk it, but at the same time, I am sorry that he has passed away.

9 comments:

Elizabeth said...

It really is heart-breaking. I am so sorry --

Angela said...

Thanks for sharing...I was praying with you yesterday. Sending you hugs and love...

Maggie May said...

I am sorry Karen. He sounds wonderful.

Karen said...

What a beautiful man. It really feels like a light goes out in this world when a person like this leaves. I am so sorry for you and his family. He will be deeply missed.

Allegra Smith said...

When a friend leaves this world there is a place no one else can occupy. Sadness when they are young, sadness when they are old, sadness is the price we pay for the joy of having called them friends.

I believe we each have our day to leave in the Universe's calendar, and that more than anything else at times pushes me to live life as full as I can, to give and to share because I have everything, except tomorrow. Love from both of us and hoping for comfort for you and his family.

AnnDeO said...

Through your tender tribute I feel I have come to know this gentle man and feel sadness at his passing. Sending you love... and his family and friends.

Busy Bee Suz said...

This post made me both cry and smile. I cried at the loss of his family, friends and cohorts. I smiled because of his beautiful spirit.
xo

Kay said...

So sad. So sorry for the loss to his family and to his community. There really aren't words sometimes.

deb colarossi said...

so so sorry...