Yesterday was Fred's Celebration of Life. David and I drove my parents to Seattle and accompanied them; Gregg was unable to join us, because he was in an airplane, en route from Italy, where he has been working for nearly two weeks.
Fred's family and friends gathered in an elegant club and toasted his beautiful life. His Marine Corps helmet (with bullet holes in it), Purple Heart medal, and folded American flag were on display at the entry. Photographs, newspaper articles and poems were displayed around the room.
My father gave a lovely eulogy, describing Fred's sterling character; I am very proud of the job he did with this difficult task. Another close friend also spoke of their many years of friendship, and Fred's gifts of loyalty and integrity.
Upon seeing Fred's elder son, I began to cry; he looks so much like him. He also looks like Charlotte, but the resemblance to Fred was enough to set me off. His words to the group about his father - his business partner and best friend - were deeply moving. He told us of Fred's words from his hospital bed, clearly stating his desire to host this very party. His family honored that desire well.
Their grandson, who is a musician, played the piano, spoke graciously about Fred, and sang elegantly. That required three more tissues from my purse.
This group of friends has had to bid goodbye to four friends in the past month. My heart hurts for them. Getting older is a privilege, but it is not easy. This generation of men, who have worked hard, sacrificed, served their country and cared for their wives and families, deserves to be honored and saluted. They are not replaceable. Their example should be held up - and followed.
It is wonderful to have Gregg back at home with us - the perfect ending to a deeply stirring day.
Happy Father's Day to all of you dads out there!