On Saturday I went to the celebration of life ceremony for Harry. I missed most of it because I had to work, but it was so nice. They had a 30 foot table filled with memorabilia and photos and awards and photo albums. There was also a DVD slideshow of his photos with his favorite music playing on a big screen TV. There was even a flyover by 2 black hawk helicopters. I saw the helicopters at work on their way to the ceremony.
Today (Sunday) we went to the cabin on the river to spread his ashes. Again, it was a celebration of his life, not a mournful day. He wouldn't have wanted that. It was a beautiful day, just a little hot. We saw a Bald Eagle right after crossing the tracks and tried to follow it to get a picture, but we didn't see it again. It was the first Bald Eagle Sue had ever seen. It was Harry.
We all thought at first that his wife Ruthy should be the one to spread his ashes, but it was decided that we would all spread his ashes wherever we thought he would want to be. As unceremoniously as Harry would have wanted it, we each took a handful of him and cast him where we wanted to. Some chose the dock, or the hog cooker or the picnic benches he built and we pretty much covered the entire area. I chose the area where the steps used to be before he built the new ones because they are fading away over time, and at the steps that he just built this summer and the hog pit as it was called.
To give you an idea of the mood, even though there were moments that you could feel that someone would break, Heather, his Daughter was spreading his ashes and said "oh no Mom!, now I have Harry in my shoe!". it was a lighter moment that we all needed. Then Kayley, his grand daughter walked by his daughter Melony and patted her on the back with the hand that she had grabbed his ashes with and left a hand print of Harry on her shirt. Everyone thought it was funny and some noticed the symbolism. We all felt the joy of having Harry there, and only moments of missing him.
It was a day filled with so much joy and some sorrow, but above all it was a celebration and remembrance of the man that he was. When I grow up I hope that I am half the man that he was. He was someone that you were happy to know the minute you met him and his friend as soon as he knew your name. He's not gone, he has just moved on to his next assignment.
The pain has almost passed, but the memories will last a lifetime.