Saturday, August 14, 2010

I'm so tired of going to funerals.

It is becoming embarrassing. What in the world are we doing in Tecumseh, Oklahoma that is causing all this suffering? How can we stop it? I went to ANOTHER funeral of a 22 year old this morning. I'm seeing the same kids and parents over and over again in the worst of circumstances.
Today's service was for Garrett Bowlan, a classmate of Carson's from both South Rock Creek, THS, and OSU. Another auto accident took the life of one of our beloved kids. Garrett was senior class president of the Class of 2006. He was a story-teller, fisherman, hunter, photographer, artist, musician, and all around great kid. I know, he was 22, so he wasn't a kid now, but in my eyes, he's still Garrett the kid with the great big smile.
As far as funerals go, this was a good one. Garrett was a "Christian and proud of it." His mother read a book report that Garrett wrote that pretty much summed up his life. Wow, he never wrote anything that profound in my class. I guess he grew up from the time he was a junior until he was a college sophomore.
The thing that really got me today was seeing the faces of the SRC parents. It was only a few years ago that we all sat together at little league baseball games and cheered as our kids played. It was only a few years ago that we sat at the SRC Christmas programs or Community Club meetings. There was a common look in all our eyes. Shock, fear, disbelief-how could these kids be leaving us so soon? Why? How can we be assured that it won't happen again?
Because of the recent barage of funerals, Garrett had made his wishes known. He wanted a casual celebration of his life, so that's what he got. People were wearing orange that have never worn orange in their lives. I took pictures. Several people spoke and told funny stories-a vital part of a funeral to me. It didn't use to be, but now it is. I'm so glad we had my nephew Marty speak at Jason's service. He told story after story of Jason's childhood and had the entire crowd wiping tears of laughter. That's so appropriate for people like Jason and Garrett who loved to laugh and to make people laugh.
I'm ready for some happy occasions. I'm challenging all the students who have been so saddened and affected by the recent deaths of their friends and classmates to invite their former teachers when they are having events to celebrate. We want to be a part of your weddings, Christenings, graduation parties, whatever. We'll bring presents; we'll help clean-up; we'll do anything to see all of you in happy moments.
Live it up, Garrett Bowlan. I can only imagine.