Your viewing and funeral were wonderful - it's a shame they were held when you couldn't be there. People came from all over. Donna from Louisville, Deb and Terry from Sidney, Michael and Kathy from Kansas. The travel award went to Chris, Heather, and the girls who came all the way from New Orleans.
There were a lot of tears at the viewing. I was surprised how many people didn't know that you'd had Hodgkins Disease twice, the first time when we were 19; they assumed you'd been healthy until the last year. A lot of people didn't know what a long battle it had been for you, or that you'd had many more years than anybody ever expected.
For pallbearers I had Jim, Paul, Brian, Matt, Chris, Ron, and Terry. I hope that was what you wanted. It's quite a cross-section of our lives, isn't it? Brian, Adrian, Charlie, Paul, and Steven took off work today to read and chant, and it sounded beautiful. Father couldn't help getting choked up sometimes. He said that what defined you was being a servant; I still need to tell him that when we met, that was your goal for your life. You met it.
The crowd was as big as I'd expected. The church was full. The ladies did a wonderful job with lunch, and I have lots of leftovers. The meal was a bit more cheerful. The friends I sat with were telling funny stories about you. I'm afraid we were a bit undignified - that won't surprise you at all. You would have enjoyed it.
The funeral cost less than I had expected. I kept to what I knew you would want, and that was what kept the cost down. Planning it was a bit like the time we planned our wedding - people trying to get me to do things neither of us wanted. There wasn't a flower drape over the coffin - that always reminded me of the Kentucky Derby - and, being Orthodox, your shroud was there instead. I didn't get those printed cards you hate and didn't use their guest book, which saved us $250. For a guest book I used the last part of our wedding guest book. Sentimental, I know, but it felt good. To balance things, the grave plots were more expensive because we don't live in Goshen. Our plots are in Oak Ridge Cemetery, and almost next door to Kevin. (It was a nice, respectable neighborhood until we arrived.) There wasn't room in the Orthodox section. There are beautiful big shade trees, and we're right next to the creek. This is our new second home on the water.
Love you bunches! Sleep well tonight, and pray for me.Joan.