One more "Chris" post, and then I'll move on...
In case you thought I was making it up that Chris was a "footprints in the heart" kind of guy, consider this: His calling hours were from 4:00 to 8:00 Thursday. We got there just before 5:00, and there was a line out the door of the funeral home of people waiting to go in. It took us over an hour to wend our way through the two rooms where they had pictures and videos of Chris and the receiving line of his family - brothers and sisters, wife, son, stepdaughter, parents. When we came out, the line was twice as long as when we went in.
Every fire department in our county and the surrounding counties sent a contingent of firefighters in full dress uniform (white gloves and all) to pay their respects, as did every single ambulance unit. People that he's done work for came, and all of his friends (many, many, many of those). They had to have policemen directing traffic and stopping traffic for pedestrians to cross, because they had to use the parking lots of all of the surrounding businesses - the funeral home didn't have enough room for everybody.
I have never, ever seen that many people turn out to pay their respects to someone who wasn't famous. It was incredible, and yet not surprising. Chris just had that effect on people. Never a harsh word for anyone, an open-door policy at his home, ready to help anyone who needed it. At the services yesterday his best friend was speaking, and mentioned that several of Chris's friends actually moved to be closer to him (himself among them).
Greg and I are moving into acceptance. Greg said the hardest part for him was seeing the obituary in the paper, and he sort of turned a corner after that. He's pretending that Chris just moved away and is working at a different job, so he doesn't feel so awful when Chris doesn't show up to work with him. He still has moments, though, and probably will for a while. Example: yesterday he was dismantling the deck because the people who built it didn't do what needed to be done to control water, and there is significant rot where it ties into the house, including the sill and ledger board of the house itself. As Greg was surveying the situation, he looked up at the sky and said, "Chris, what do I do?", then looked at me with a shrug and an expression like "...and so it begins"...
A lot of how this was affecting me tied into how it was affecting my husband, so as he gets more philosophical and accepting of this, it makes it easier for me to move into that frame of mind, as well. Tears still come at random times, and there will be repercussions work-wise for some time, but we can talk about him with laughter and fondness, and that helps the healing...
Something about the old saying "Time heals all wounds". I know it really doesnt heal them completely but as time goes by the pain subsides. Keep remembering Chris with a smile on your face and remember all the good times you spent with him. That is the best thing we can do for our loved ones that leave us behind.
Posted by: Peggy | September 26, 2009 at 01:13 PM
This is all just amazing.. the number of people that came to pay respects, speeches from friends, stories about Chris, and I'm sure all his friends and family appreciated that. You will never 'get over' his passing, but it sounds like you are starting to move on in your own ways. I hope Greg keeps asking Chris 'now what' cause one day he'll get a thought after he asks, and it will be the answer Chris would have given. In a few years you'll be talking about him wistfully, and it won't be so raw. No need to 'move on' on your blog from talking about him, it's still an ongoing process for you. Best wishes to you both.
Posted by: Debra | September 27, 2009 at 02:51 PM
Wow! Chris sounds like he was a wonderful man. I'm happy to hear that both of you are starting to heal.
Posted by: Amy Johnson | September 29, 2009 at 07:08 AM
Just to let you know that volunteer firemen are family to each other. My husband has been a volunteer fireman for over 30 years. In that time we have had to attend several funerals. It is very hard. One thing that they do here in Michigan is that they place the coffin on a firetruck and the firetruck leads the way to the cemetary. Yes lots of firemen attend. It is a very moving ceremony. How about making a scrapbook about Chris for his family. It does help heal but it is also a time to let yourself cry over your loss. My prayers are with you and your family over your loss.
Posted by: Chris Muxlow | October 04, 2009 at 02:57 PM