Monday, July 8, 2013

I'm home, home, in the quiet of Lloyd, Mr. Moon gone off to auction, me alone and I'm fine but tired, a very long day but now home.
The funeral was as good a funeral as I can imagine. It was hard for the family, and everyone there cried, I'm pretty sure. Stories were told about Paw Paw by his baby brother, his daughter, an adopted grandson, Shayla, Billy...I don't know. Hank did a good job as officiant although he was trying real hard not to cry the whole time. Futile effort.
Lily and May and I drove to Sumatra for the graveside service and we must have gone the long way because we got there when half the ceremony was over. They were just about to play Taps when we quietly made our ways shamefaced to the blue awning over the casket, the color guard had just folded the flag and was handing it to Nell, his wife, our Maw Maw. And then began the Mason ceremony and honeys, I have to tell you, I've never seen or heard anything like that but it was filled with deep ceremony and ritual and white gloves and old men and when it was over, I felt as if we should applaud. There were prayers and there were pine trees and it was an old cemetery and it was quiet and a good place for someone to rest.
We drove back to town and there was food as there always must be, the living must go on.

Here's what I am always going to remember about today- the diversity of the people there. I'm not even going to go into it but I'm just going to ask you to trust me. Maw Maw and Paw Paw took in as family not just folks who looked like them or thought like them but people who, somehow, needed them. And maybe they needed those people, too. As with all of the best people on this earth, it was hearts that mattered to them and hearts that still matter to Maw Maw.
I worry most about her.

As their daughter said, the one thing Paw Paw always wanted to know was, "Where's Nell?" and if no one knew, someone better go find her and most likely she'd be right there and she'd say, "I'm right here behind you, Billy. I am right here."

Sixty years, y'all.

The song they played to end the service is one of my very favorites, despite my deep lack of religious belief. It's called "The Far Side Banks Of Jordan" which was written by a man named Terry Smith and although they didn't play the June Carter/Johnny Cash version, I'm going to give that one to you here.

It's holy.

I hope it gives Maw Maw some comfort.

And Billy too. His face today was the face of someone in such deep pain that you want to just hold on to them so hard that your heart can do the work for both of you for a minute, at least. But of course it doesn't really work that way. I wish it were. Oh, how I do wish it were.

Well. Billy Glenn Lunsford was laid to rest today beneath pine trees in a quiet place and I think he would have liked how it all went. Yes. I am pretty sure he would have.

And I'll be waiting on the far side banks of Jordan
I'll be waiting drawing pictures in the sand
And when I see you coming I will rise up with a shout
And coming running through the shallow waters reaching for your hand. 


  1. wow... condolences and what a beautiful tribute... 60 years.

  2. This brought heaviness to my heart for Billy and Maw Maw. I'm glad you're all there for each other. Sweet Jo

  3. what a fine looking couple they made.
    sounds like a fine send off to.

  4. Mary, every damn word you've written about Paw Paw and Maw Maw has been beautiful, and this is no exception. My heart goes out to you, Maw Maw and Billy. You've written a set of beautiful eulogies here.

  5. Carolyn- And that's something, isn't it?

    Sweet Jo- As much as we can be.

    Yobobe- They were GORGEOUS!

    Sara- We will miss that good man.

  6. Just looking at the young couple so much in love and then thinking of their 60 years together is really something else. A life time together and so hard to part. I hope that we make it to sixty years but who knows whether that will happen. We are together no matter what.

  7. Lately, with each one of these passings that separates a couple like that, I find myself thinking about that time when our union will be separated that way. How sad it will be, no matter who goes first, and how much I will regret every hard word or unkind thought we ever had. This must be why they say older couples don't argue much.
    Sad thoughts on a rainy night in Canada.


  8. My god, what a gorgeous couple they were! And I love that Cash/Carter tune -- thank you for including the video as I listening to it and reread your beautiful words.

  9. Oh Lord. Now I'm crying. I can just feel picture the whole scene from your description. I hate to think of Billy racked in that much pain. I know he is cared for by some of the most caring souls there are though, and that is big.

    Please hug him for me. And Shayla and Hank and yourself. Hug yourself for me.

  10. Your writing together with the song that I had never heard before brought tears to my eyes. Both very very touching, writing and song.
    After carefully rereading your post from yesterday I would still comment the same but maybe I should have added your context to it... ;o)) Thanks for making me reread.

  11. Sixty years. That's incredible. And he lived 81 years, which is nothing to sneeze at. Not that that makes the loss any easier for anyone.

    I love the description of the cemetery beneath the pine trees. I hope wherever I wind up there are pine trees. Even English pine trees would be OK.

  12. They sound like such sweet people. So sorry for the loss of Paw Paw.

  13. Syd- Good attitude!

    Invisigal- As you get older, as you realize how precious your time is, you do realize that there isn't as much to fight about as you once thought.

    Elizabeth- They were so beautiful, weren't they? And I just love that song. Something about the visual image of someone sitting and drawing pictures in the sand, just waiting...
    Not your usual heavenly ideal. So heart-tugging.

    Ms. Fleur- Will do. Thanks, honey.

    Photocat- I see no reason to believe in an afterlife but I could be wrong. I see every reason to believe in DNA though. And the way a person can affect another person which actually changes that person.

    Steve Reed- Yes. Trees. Always trees.

    Nicol- They were sweet and GOOD.

  14. How do we get so old? That young couple. Where did they go? Sixty years.

  15. I'm so sorry for your loss. Such beautiful memories of him.


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