This morning was pretty rough. Bob Ewing and I went up to Garden Grove to attend the funeral services of 24 year-old Richard Gamache. "Ric" was the handsome son of one of our choir members at church. He was killed in a very freak accident on an all-terrain vehicle last Friday. This is a guy who was extremely athletic--an avid surfer, and a football, track, and baseball star. He'd just finished a 5-year stint with the Navy. (Four of those years were at Camp David where he served the President and his family during that time.)
You just don't picture a guy who's received commendations from the Department of Homeland Security and who's been honored for his work in anti-terrorism, being thrown from an ATV and landing on his head like a rag doll. Such a tragedy. It's just not at all natural for parents to sit through a funeral for one of their children--especially when they're as vitally alive as Ric Gamache had been throughout his twenty-four years.
The service was at a funeral home. There wasn't nearly enough room for the huge crowd of friends and family who were there. Bob and I arrived right on time, but it was standing-room only in the foyer. We only heard bits and pieces of the memorial. I kept thinking, This SHOULD have been at our church. Because we were really out of hearing range of what was going on in the chapel (there were speakers in the foyer but they weren't working!!), we were able to stay pretty aloof emotionally--that is, until they played the 80's CCM classic, "Friends" by Michael W. Smith over a DVD of Ric's life. I'd forgotten how much that song always managed to "get to me." (I have always associated it with the deeply emotional time when we left my Sabbatical ministry in Louisville to return to Johnson Bible College. That was a very rough time--especially leaving all of our Louisville friends.)
Ric had many friends from Maryland who flew here for his services...many of them were Navy guys who were clearly having a rough time "letting go." It was tough to watch.
His mother, Dienna Rogers, did an amazing job thanking everyone for being in attendance. She was so calm and collected--far more so than I would have been if one of my girls was lying in a casket 6 feet away from me.
Why am I posting this? I guess just to remind us never to take "this moment" for granted. Whether it's with our friends or our family, our time together is precious--even if we think it's in abundant supply.
Love you all.