Saying Goodbye to my PaPa

I was debating posting this-and decided to-for it is a part of me and I often offer that to you through my work.

I sometimes say that it is with and through my camera that I worship and celebrate-and I assumed I might grieve the same. So when I left home for Saturday’s events, which would begin with my PaPa’s funeral and end with a wedding celebration I was hired to cover, I thought my camera would be as useful in the morning as it was in the evening.

I did start the day with it….took a few photos of the flower arrangements and my dressed up children and the display of my PaPa’s letters and other items from his time as a WWII POW in Germany, his Army medals, and a few prized photos..

After the service, I ran to grab my bag again before I entered our family car. As I sat  with Mike, Dawn, Brent, Kristi, Jeff, Mom, Dad, and MaMa, I was torn between wanting to BE right there and wanting to jump out and quickly capture PaPa’s nephews lifting his flag draped coffin from the car in front of us…and I settled for a quick shot from the window as I remained…

Then knowing the Patriotic honor that would be bestowed on our Veteran hero,  I asked for my Dad and MaMa’s permission to photograph the grave-side service and with their blessing and my camera over shoulder I fell in line as our family joined the awaiting crowd. The short service was as beautiful as the one at the church and I was simply ‘paralyzed’ from shooting…after a few failed attempts I let the camera rest on the ground at my feet.

I have no physical images to share with you or my family, but there are many images etched in my mind…forever…

…of the three honor guard, 2 men and a woman,  that stood at salute. The Air Bourne patch on each of their right shoulder.

…the  wiping away of tears, in unison, as each sorrowful note of “Taps”  filled the room

…the snap of the flag as the guard lifted it from the casket allowing it to hover above for a brief moment. The emotion that snapped in us with that single intense motion.

…the deliberate pace of the honor guard as they carefully and respectfully folded the beautiful Red, White, and Blue…the rhythm of every precise movement.

…the face of the honor guard as he knelt  before my grandmother and extended to her the folded flag

…the weight on my heart and unexplainable pride as we heard him recite the heartfelt words… “On behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful nation, we present this flag to you”

…the final prayer of gratitude and cry for comfort.

…the friends and family that surrounded us.

…the way my Dad and Mom embraced my MaMa from either side as they escorted her away just as they had through the day.

over. goodbye. final.  yet not forever. You will be missed, hero of ours.

Jesus unrolled the scroll and read the prophesy of Isaiah 61:1-”The sprit of God has anointed me…I have come to bind up the broken hearted and set the captives free.” So it is…the prophesy fulfilled by the Son of God, fulfilled for PaPa…and you and me. amen.

July 5, 2010 - 9:50 pm

Fain Maag - Your family was blessed with such a special PaPa in your lives. He gave much to both you and his beloved country. As I wipe away the tears I thank you for these priceless pictures and I know God will continue to bless you as you continue to serve Him and others. May God’s richest blessings pour out into your head and your heart.

June 16, 2010 - 6:54 am

Kelli - So sorry, Kim. What a dear soul he was.

June 15, 2010 - 6:22 am

Amy Clifton - Kim, this is a beautiful tribute to your PaPa, in both words and images. I am so sorry for your loss, although it is Heaven’s gain.
With love and prayers,

June 15, 2010 - 6:18 am

Sabrina - Kim, thank you for posting this. I know it was difficult… to watch, experience and photograph. And tears filled my eyes as I read your words and thought back on the funerals of my dad, granddad and a friend who was killed in Iraq six years ago. Each man served in his own generation’s war but I believe that each man is now sitting at the feet of our Father. I pray that each of you will continue to let Jesus heal your broken hearts and rest in Him :)

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