Monday, June 26, 2006

Great funeral...bad aftertaste

Thank you to all who have sent condolences. I'm grateful for the prayers and expressions of love.

My dad's funeral was Saturday. It really was beautiful. My sister wanted the song "Danny Boy," which isn't an approved Catholic mass song. It turned out that there is an approved song called something like "a Celtic farewell." It was to the tune of Danny Boy with awesome words. It was very lovely. At the grave side service, the air force funeral honor team folded the flag and presented it to my mother. Then one of them walked away and played taps on a bugle. Rather than the flag, they should have presented us all with Kleenex. It was very moving and beautiful. I recommend joining the service, just so they can play taps at your funeral.

Having said all that, the day of reckoning has come. The funeral activity is over. The crowds have gone home and we are left with the realization that life will never be the same again. After the funeral, I showed a slide show of pictures from my dad's life. My cousin asked what kind of golf cart my dad was driving and I said, "I don't know what kind it is, but dad will know." That was the first of many instances yet to come where I forget that dad isn't here to answer my questions. Now that the activity has died down, I'm feeling very sad and depressed. That's the nasty aftertaste. I know it won't last forever.

Here's what I wrote for the inside of my dad's funeral bulletin:

Morris J. (Curly) Shrader was a hero and an over-comer. He was born on April 19, 1924 in his grandmotherÂ’s house in Oak Grove, Missouri. During the winter, he attended school, but his summers were spent working on his Aunt PearlÂ’s farm. The depression and the farm produced in him an aptitude for solving problems and a strong work ethic.

In 1940, the family moved to Cincinnati, where Morris became an electrician and met June, his wife of 63 years. In 1942, he joined the Army Air Corp—serving as a senior gunner on a B-29. On March 2, 1945 Morris’ plane was shot down over the Indian ocean. He was held in solitary confinement at a Japanese POW camp in Singapore. The determination it took to survive as a POW would mark the rest of his life. The physical trauma of that experience set the stage for a 30 year battle with heart disease. In 1973, Morris had the first of many heart attacks. After his first open heart surgery, the doctors gave him 10 years to live. They did not know what a fighter he was! 33 years later, he is finally taking his rest.


Anonymous said...

Your dad seems like a great guy, yet it's interesting that your sister wanted to sing "Danny Boy" at the mass. It doesn't seem like a religious song.
A few weeks ago, I was at a Catholic funeral, and they did "Amazing Grace" to the tune of "Danny Boy". Also, the priest is a visitor from Peru.
Good-bye and Good Luck

Anonymous said...


Sorry to hear about your dad's passing. I know what you are going through and what you will go through.

Jim Harvey