I’m not going to go into cliches about death. You’ve heard them all:
“Everybody’s gotta die sometime” ~ The Rev, Avenged Sevenfold
2 1/2 years ago, a friend and mentor I had in the Navy died suddenly.
He had just recovered from a near-fatal motorcycle accident and then he was gone. His wife was pregnant with his son.
He was a reservist and would visit me at work and ask me how my workouts were going. We would talk about workouts and guns.
The man had a presence that filled the room and everyone who met him, really liked him.
When I got word that he passed, I was in tears because its hard to see the good die young, the man was in his 40’s about to have his first son. Those of us who worked with him were shocked and saddened and his family devastated. Imagine the parents having to bury their son.
All veterans who were in good standing when they left the service are entitled to military funeral honors.
I was in the two-person detail along with a Lieutenant to fold the flag, I volunteered. The ceremony did not go as perfectly as I would have hoped and additionally it was one of the most difficult and trying things I’ve ever done. I had done numerous funeral honors but this one was mentally and emotionally difficult. I was actually quite nervous despite the fact I had done 40 or 50 funerals before that.
The silver-lining was that the widow was immensely grateful and the look of gratitude on her face I will never ever forget for as long as I live.
All of us at some point will have to deal with the death of friend, family member, spouse, loved one who dies too soon.
Doing something for the family of the deceased made me feel better and made the family feel very grateful. Service to others is how you overcome the shock and sadness of such an event.
Service to your fellow man takes the focus off you and puts it where it needs to go; to the friends and family of the deceased.
Its okay to be sad and to cry when you’re friend dies, I cried the day I found out he died and right when I got back from the funeral. I was probably one the last people to see him alive.
Men aren’t typically emotional but sometimes the situation doesn’t allow you to hold emotion back, so let it go.
All this was in 2014 and the widow and child are doing well.
We can all move forward when we pull together and support one another.
Your friend helped you grow as a person and I hope that you find the strength to move on without him.
And to my friend with whom I was acquainted for a very short time:
Rest in heavenly peace.