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11 November 2007 @ 11:57 pm
Today was Dad's memorial service. Fitting enough, I suppose, that it fell on Veteran's Day. From boyhood, all dad ever wanted to do was fly. He got the chance when he joined the Navy. He was a carrier pilot (seriously crazy folk, even today). He flew reconnaissance during the Korean war. Later, he trained other aviators, and was a test pilot.

After he left the service, Dad worked at a few jobs before finding his way back into the sky as a corporate pilot. It was never remarkable to me, as a child, that my dad did something only the best of the superheroes did: he flew. And better still, he taught me how to do so. Well, I held the stick, and made the plane go up and down the tiniest bit, but still... I was flying. I was mighty. Dad made it so.

Y'know, I haven't yet written a real tribute to Dad. I don't know that I'm ready to do so even yet. I know, rationally, this doesn't make me a terrible daughter. Still, I feel as if I ought to have spewed all of my grief and confusion and emptiness onto the page, that a beautifully worded essay ought to spring from my skull with an alacrity that put Athena's birth to shame. It's not there, though. Not yet.

Even so, I want to say this: thank you. A million times over I thank all of you who have written or spoken or even thought words of comfort in this astonishingly difficult time of grief. Thank you for the flowers, for the cards, for the comments on this LJ or elsewhere, for the emails, for the overwhelming love and blessings. It helped; it helps still.

Dad was remembered with military honors today. There was a rifle salute. Taps was played. Mom was presented with the folded flag. And then we all drank and ate and shared stories. There was music. There were tears. There was laughter.

Until I manage to shape the words into my own tribute, I hold this day most dear. Thanks to all who attended, and thanks as well to all whose thoughts bent our way.

And while I mourn the loss of my superhero flying father, he'd be mightily cranky did I not extend that mourning to those whose courage and selflessness have shaped so much of what is good and beautiful and right in this world.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Tags: ,
I feel: depresseda bit broken
Bird on a Wing: A Strong Hand to Holdcaragana_leaves on November 12th, 2007 05:31 am (UTC)
I love you, Kelly, and I think of you often. Thank you, by the way, for knowing and posting that poem.
Kel: beautiful Jane Eyreladyjoust on November 12th, 2007 05:34 am (UTC)
Right back at you, lovely. You are still, I hope you know, the sister of my heart.

And I adore that poem. I can barely read it without getting weepy.

I miss you.
Andrewquueer on November 12th, 2007 06:09 am (UTC)
I supposed I ought to offer you hugs and sympathy.

However, the only thing that comes to mind is the explanation I gave my little brother of what a rifle salute was. I was seven, he was three. "They fire the guns to make sure that the person is dead before they bury them."

(please, don't hate me for putting this here)
Kel: awesomesauce!ladyjoust on November 12th, 2007 06:53 am (UTC)
Oh, honey - that made me laugh out loud. VERY loud. I'm sharing this with my mom tomorrow.

Andrewquueer on November 12th, 2007 04:05 pm (UTC)
Oh good. I typed it up and I was thinking... ok, normally she'd enjoy this, but she *is* talking about her dad's funeral. so... maybe not?
Ea Quae Legiteaquaelegit on November 12th, 2007 07:12 am (UTC)
I thought of your dad today as I wore my poppy. I've been thinking of him ever since I got one this year.

My grandfather was a pilot too, in the RCAF. He flew Lancaster Bombers, I think, during WWII. He and my great-uncles Art and Doug somehow got stationed on the same base. They would watch him fly away, never knowing if he'd come back. He did, though. He always did.

I remember at his funeral (I was 11), the Royal Canadian Legion came. There wasn't any gun salute, but there was a piper, and all these old men, these veterans who saw a war as young men, were there. They each laid a little poppy pin on him, over his suit and his medals, before the casket was closed.

I took one, that day. I wore it for four or five years in a row for Remembrance Day, until I lost it. Now whenever I get a poppy in late October, I salute him, in my heart.

I hope you don't mind me sharing. Stories connect us, and telling and hearing stories eases grief. For me, at least, and I know you're not ready to share, so maybe hearing that others will remember your dad each fall will help a little.

You are loved, he is loved. Can I ask his name, so I can remember him properly?
Kel: the watchladyjoust on November 12th, 2007 07:23 am (UTC)
I love that you're sharing. It's a gift, really, how the stories connect us all. I may not be ready to share yet, but that's really due to my own flaws as a storyteller; I'll be there soon, and certainly by next remembrance day.

I do have to thank you. I am so incredibly touched that you remembered, even without knowing Dad's name. Which, by the way, is Howard Clayton Curran.

Do you mind me asking your grandfather's name, that I might remember him properly as well? Dad - military aviator and avid armchair historian - would have absolutely loved to hear your grandda's story.

Edited at 2007-11-12 07:41 am (UTC)
Ea Quae Legiteaquaelegit on November 12th, 2007 07:42 am (UTC)
Grandpa's name was Robert Purnell. He was a Flight Lieutenant.

One of my favourite childhood stories of him was the day the armistice was declared. He and his crew didn't drop bombs that day - they dropped rolls of toilet paper. Naturally, it rained that night.

Do you folks have poppies (pins) down in the States? I can't remember if they're a mainly Canadian thing. I should save one for you if you don't.
Kelladyjoust on November 14th, 2007 03:53 am (UTC)
He was in my thoughts yesterday

That's a great story!

We have the paper poppies you get when you make a donation to any Veterans associations, but no pins. If you have one to spare, that would be lovely, but no worries!

winterbear_cavewinterbear_cave on November 12th, 2007 11:58 am (UTC)
As a vet myself all I can offer is a salute and a solders silent vigil.
Jobs, baby, Jobs!picoland on November 12th, 2007 02:48 pm (UTC)
we are all of us a little bit broken, but love is like Krazy Glue.

Aifacat: Yellow Bettaaifacat on November 12th, 2007 04:45 pm (UTC)
*just plain hugs* :-)
Mairearanturas on November 12th, 2007 10:11 pm (UTC)