Yesterday was the funeral for one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, my friend Ralph. Not a conventional family, with two ex wifes and now a grieving husband, but a family that has so much love that I wanted to stay in their presence. Everyone loved Ralph, he was best friends with his ex wife, and her husband. They all care about each other so much, and I we bid goodbye to this man who served his country in Vietnam. He worked hard, was a good husband, father, brother, son, and friend to many,
and struggled in the past 7.5 years with limitations after a stroke. He could not walk, but that didn’t stop him from being independent. He was a proud man, did not like to ask for help, he wanted to do things on his own.
I have such respect and love for this man. Never once, with all that he went thru, and it was a lot, did he complain. He dealt with his illnesses with grace, and acceptance, an example for everyone who thinks they have it bad… Not that you would feel sorry for him, that was farthest thing on his mind, if at all, but to teach others how to live life, how to spread love, and make wonderful wonderful memories with those he loved.
I spoke at his funeral, wrote a eulogy. I said to my friend Harry’s brother Robert, with whom I sat with “If I pass out, please make sure you pull my dress down if my butt is showing”…. he agreed. Fortunately that didn’t happen.
Ralph taught me that although he could only use one hand, he loved to paint, and so why complain that I have pain in two? He taught me how to accept difficulties and trials as they come up, doing the best you can do with a smile on your face. He taught me five years married to my friend Harry, you can fill a life time of memories.
I did well until the military part of the funeral. Whenever I hear taps, or see the American flag, a soldier salute, water falls down my cheeks like a waterfall.
It was a beautiful service, one that I’m sure when he was watching over those he loved, he liked. His largely attended funeral was testiment to all the lives he had touched. I truly hope he really was able to look over and watch those he loved, and all the wonderful things and people that were there to celebrate his life and say their goodbyes. So often I think, I hope to be able to see what people say at my funeral…… or would I want to hear? I guess that depends on how I live my life. Today I am going to live it fully, laugh with family and friends, and be grateful that I had the distinct honor of being Ralph’s friend through the difficult parts of his life. I learned so much from this kind man who was wheelchair bound, but still was independent….God gives us what we need, we are always provided with what we need…not necesarilly what we want. I hope today to accept any challenges with the same grace that Ralph did his. And I hope I have touched the lives of others, and left a mark on thier souls like Ralph did for me and many more.
Rest in peace, Ralph Beer. Rest in peace. I love you.