Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Goodbye, Ricky

The morning of the funeral, Patty, my sister told me that she was planning a breakfast at a local hotel after the service.  My sweet sister, she had always been there for me and here she was again, taking care of me  We had the funeral service, burial and then this small reception afterward.  I was dressed and prepared for the day very early.  I was ready to get the show on the road.  Michael and Jack were dressed and waiting on the couch when the limo arrived.  I walked out on the front step and remember seeing a sea of cars in the street and people standing all over my front lawn.

Jack was pretty excited about the limo.  He was bouncing up and down on the seats and then had his face up against the window.  I loved that he was being a normal 12 year old today.  Michael was in my arms and looking out the window.  My mother in-law was talking to him. 

When we arrived at the church, many people were already there.  Steve met us walking up to the building.  I told him, I just wanted to go in and didn't want to talk to anyone.  He brought us back to the community room and I sat there with Michael.  He had been up early and it was getting to be his nap time.  He was three and a half but still took a nap at the babysitter’s.  I sat at the table with Michael on my lap, his head on my shoulder and was greeted by my family as they came into the room to walk in together when the service started.  This would be an extremely large procession of both Roszels and Mulherns.

I could look out the door and see across to the side door of the church.  Hoards of people were arriving.  In the middle of the crowd were men walking in with vestments  over their arms and hanging from their arms, some young, some old.  These men were all priests who came to con-celebrate the mass with Steve.They were directed to the room next door.

Imagine my sister in-law Eliza’s shock as she was changing her son’s dirty diaper and this group of men barged in the door.  I am sure they were as overwhelmed with the smell as she was with surprise.  She began to apologize to them and one said, “Really, I think you were here first, no worries.” She quickly picked up the baby and headed into the safety of our room.

All in all, there were 28 priests that con-celebrated the funeral mass with Steve.  My pastor had walked by the door of the room I was sitting in with my sleeping son up on shoulder and went to greet his fellow priests.  He never even acknowledged me.  I was saddened again.

I wanted this to be a celebration of Rick’s life.  I truly felt that if I believed in my faith; it was not a time of sorrow but a time to rejoice in fact that Rick was called home and that I would see him again one day.  The music began   (Here I am, Lord) and the altar boys led the priests and Steve in procession.  The sound of them singing as a group still gives me chills to remember.  They sounded like a choir of monks; their voices made my spirit float into the church.  It was hard not to smile.

We followed them in and I was met with the faces of many friends. Rick’s casket was already at the altar.  Michael had fallen asleep on my shoulder and I carried him into the church that way with his feet dangling and his head in the crook of my neck, with his rosy cheeks of sleep and a face of innocence.
I had thought ahead.  I brought Michael a Game Boy to play during the service.  He woke when I sat down when we arrived.  Jack was on the other side of him next to Matt.  He was great during the service and it didn’t really matter if he wasn’t.  He was surrounded by relatives and any one of them would have grabbed him and put him on their lap.
I can’t imagine how difficult it was for Steve to celebrate this mass.  Rick was his baby brother.  He talked very openly about Rick’s life and our faith.  The service was uplifting and hopeful and seemed to fly by.  My mind wanders back to the music which has always been my love.  It is such an important part of the liturgical celebration and filled me with contentment and peace.
Be Not Afraid

The recessional song was the “Lord of the Dance”.  This was a song that I had played many times at St. Philip’s at mass.  It was Rick’s favorite of mine and of course, we had heard it on our first date.  It is such a lively song.  As we through the church up the aisle out to the vestibule and walked out into the sunshine of the day, Jack looked at me and said, “Mom, don’t you just feel great?”  I smiled at him and agreed.  There was a wall of people filing out of the church.

There were more people that I hadn’t seen at the wake.  I was feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point. For each day, it felt like I could meter out a certain amount of emotional energy. Each part of the services took a toll.  Once I hit overload, I had to turn it off.  I headed with the boys to the limo.  As soon as my mother in-law got in, we left for the cemetery and burial.

The Sterling Cemetery is at the intersection of Cascades Blvd and Church Rd.  Rick’s plot is at the top of the hill under a dogwood tree; a tree that was in bloom on that particular day.  I’m so glad that I picked that spot.  For years I have driven by with the boys in my van and yelled, “Hi Daddy, We miss you!”or “They’re rotten kids, Ricky; they’re driving me crazy.  How could you have left me alone with them?  We love you!”

The burial was quick.  We said our goodbyes and went to the restaurant.  I was beginning to feel the relief of the ceremonies being over.  I was sad but was also feeling very good about how things had gone.  More than 500 people came to the services; they were a great source of comfort to me.
Everything was over.  I was exhausted and it was time to go.  I took my boys and went home.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for providing the links to the music. It really helped recreate the day. The ceremony sounded lovely, a true celebration of Rick's life, uplifting to the heart and soul.