One day I walked in to one of our visitation rooms and noticed that there was a group of people setting up one of the rooms for a service that was to be held the next day. What struck me about this was how the people were behaving and what they were doing. The man who passed was a Vietnam veteran and the people were setting up displays of all his medals and war memorabilia. There were photos and uniforms and other mementos from the war that covered an entire corner of the room—extra tables were brought in to display all of the items.
In another corner of the room were items demonstrating the man’s involvement in Boy Scouts. He had three sons and helped them with scouting for many years. Apparently he was so well loved by the scouting community that he went on to help with scouting even after his boys had outgrown Boy Scouts. There were sashes with pins and medals, uniforms and photos from all the different adventures he helped chaperone with the scouts.
This man was also a Harley Davidson man. He had a group of men that he would ride with regularly and attend Harley conventions all over the country. He was proficient at repairing and refurbishing old bikes. There were hundreds of Harley items in this corner from leather caps and jackets to photos of all the locations he visited while riding with this group of men. There were also several Harley’s parked in front of the chapel that were going to be at the service the next day, including the bikes he refurbished for friends and his favorite Harley would be parked right under the U.S. flag in front of the building.
In the fourth corner of the room, the people set up what looked like an OSU tailgate party. There were jerseys hanging, banners, posters, footballs and stadium chairs. In addition, there were several kegs and tables set up for City BBQ—his tailgate favorites.
As I walked by the room where the people were working, I couldn’t help but stop and admire all the mementos that these people brought and were setting up. It was so apparent how much they loved and admired him and what a wonderful life he had. At one point, as I was viewing the Vietnam section, one of the gentlemen came over and welcomed me to join in the celebration of their dear friend by extending the invitation“Will you join me in a toast to our friend?” and he handed me a cold mug of rootbeer.
How wonderful it is to visit our chapel and see how family and friends choose to honor their loved ones. Services such as these create amazing opportunities for people to come together to support each other as they begin their grief journey.
To learn more about the variety of ways that people can honor their loved ones, visit our website http://www.coylefuneralhome.com and click on “What We Do.” Story shared with permission of family and professional staff, Julie Olds.