Throughout the week I had so many visitors at the house (and more food than I knew what to do with), and that didn't change the night of visitation at the funeral home. There were people I usually saw on a regular basis, people I only saw occasionally, people I hadn't seen in years, and even people I've never seen before in my life. Of course family members were there, as well as neighbors, co-workers, friends, and church members. Many of the people Eddie had played baseball with during college were there, reminiscing about all of the good times. There were local people and there were people who had driven hours to get there. A former co-worker of Eddie's had even flown in from another country to be there. The evening was filled with hugs, kisses, condolences, tears, and even a few smiles and laughs. In many ways it was like attending a reunion rather than a visitation. I don't in any way mean that I enjoyed the evening, but all of the people and activity made the evening bearable - as long as I didn't stop to think about why we were really there.
It's funny the things that stick out in your mind during a time like this. I remember a friend of mine bringing me a diet coke with crushed ice. I remember someone asking me if my calves were hurting from standing on my tiptoes to hug people for so long. Someone else pushed a chair up behind me and told me to sit down because they were worried I was getting too tired. These were little things, but looking back I realize they must have stuck with me because they show how much people cared about me. I know I've never thanked everyone for all of the little things they did, but I am very grateful for the help and support I received during this time. I've always been a very independent person, but even I know that I never would have survived without my family and friends. "We will always need other people and even more so in the darkening hours of personal tragedy." -Robert W. Williams
The crowd of people eventually dwindled until only the family remained. Then gradually the family members left, until only Trey, my mother, my father, and I were still there. Because we had a closed casket, I had placed many photos of Eddie all around the room. I remember how hard it was to go around and pick up those pictures before we left. Besides the pictures, Trey and I had also put Eddie's camouflage hunting pants, shirt, and boots on a chair by the casket. I started to pick those up too, but Trey asked if we could put them in the casket instead - he said his daddy might need them in heaven. I was so thankful that the funeral director said he could do that after we left. Leaving there that night was one of the hardest things I've ever done. There were no more people, very few lights, no more noise - just silence. I had to walk out of the funeral home and leave Eddie behind - just as he had walked away and left us behind.
"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going." Hebrews 11:8