| Date: Mon, 21 Apr
1997 17:33:48 -0500
From: Sylvia Edwards <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: English Language Discussion Group <WORDS-L@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU>
People from many chapters of Keith's life filled the chapel yesterday. Few family members were present, but friends who filled his life were plentiful. The front of the chapel held flowers from people who cared about both of us. The memorial tables were well received. No one had the courage to ask us about the items on the table, but they looked at the table and smiled. The tables held two radio-controlled cars, the last trophy (first place at national sprint car race), the golf hat from our trip to Shangri-la, a cow, his "DAD" ring, a photo album of his life, and a picture of the family. We added two floral arrangements. The arrangements from his siblings and father were placed on easels on either side of the table.
The family picture was perched on the trophy. When the sermon seemed to be a touch too heavy, the picture flew off the table. We think Keith flicked it off as a reminder to lighten-up.
The music selections did create comments. People knew Keith had picked it out. During the gathering period we played ZZ Top Eliminator and Stevie Ray Vaughn's Texas Flood. Two of Lisa's friends sang. One sang "Wind Beneath my Wings"; the other "Because You Loved Me." They sang beautifully. We used Colin Ray's "Love Remains" as a closing and background for exit.
After the minister, a long time friend who is no longer pastoring a church, finished his sermon which focussed on Keith's victories and life, Lisa gave a wonderful eulogy. We opened the service to anyone else who wanted to speak. After memories were shared by several friends, I told an "engineer" joke (I swear Keith was behind me and said, "Lighten it up; tell the joke." ); then Scott reminded everyone that Keith wanted us to celebrate his life and remember him in our hearts. I was proud of both my children. Together we pulled off the service Keith wanted.
After the service our good friends from out of town and the young people who have been in and out of our lives through the years came to the house for lunch. We told Keith stories, laughed, wept and enjoyed watching the video of Keith's birthday party.
I've received several messages today from people who were at the service. They called to tell me how beautiful it was. Only one person had the courage to ask about Keith's family's strange behavior. They sat in the front row and refused to approach me. They also successfully avoided my attempts to approach them. We had NO showdown; merely avoidance. Someday I might share all those details, but right now the beauty of the day and celebration of Keith's life as a good man has the higher priority. His family will have to reconcile their own accounts and have to ponder why so many others loved their son and brother so well.