Who knows, yes, says the chimp, you will get whatever your heart desires ... simply settle for second.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Richard A. Velat (June 16th, 1927 – May 5th, 2005)

There was to be no happiness this day. There were to be no thoughts of beauty…only sorrow. For the loss of a man so bright and so loving in the eyes of his family that only tears can follow after the ascension of his soul from his body into the beyond. No longer would he experience the pain of the human condition any longer to have to struggle with the pettiness of our world. No. He is now away from all of this and leaves behind the sadness of his family. Upon walking into the home that would become his for a short time as the family paid their condolences, the expected heavy sorrow fills the air, as if everything in your tiny universe of thought and mind is slowly shrinking in upon you. Walking to the side of a man once living you find that the shell looks nothing like the man you knew, for the life is gone away and in a much more beautiful place than we could ever imagine. More tears…more sorrow… And yet…in small pockets of sub cultural experiences there lay persons sharing happiness through the retelling of memories long since forgotten until this day. Laughter springs forth from tiny sections of the large room rising to full bloom and quieting again for the moment. This battle of sorrow and happiness continues for three days as visitation gives way to the funeral services that would finally lay to rest one so loved in this life and equally loved, never forgotten in his passing. As could be expected, the day of days had a cool breeze and gray skies to contend with as a grieving family entered into a room to pay their condolences and comfort for a loss of a man that meant so much to each and every one of them. Gathered around the tent, now, to listen as a now aging man paid homage to a fallen soldier…a fallen father…a fallen husband…a fallen friend and comrade. Gunshots could be heard now as the ritual of honor continued its journey to completion. Now a trumpeter plays the song of goodbye for the fallen. As Taps is completed, the American flag is presented to one in whom true strength lies; for as the one he called Wife receives the flag, no tear escapes her eye only pride for the one in whom she loves so dearly.

This is the scene for the celebration of life and the mourning of departure for Richard A. Velat, a man of courage and love so large that it covered an entire family of fifteen grandchildren, more than eight sets of children with spouses, and an equally courageous wife. There is a special place of love, courage, and beauty that will never be erased from the hearts and minds of those he touched so dearly with his laughter, wit, and charm. We sorrow not for his passing into a land of milk and honey, but for the departure of his life from ours.

Your touch in me will leave me with bravery and thought to a time when you were away and fighting for an ideal of freedom that we all take for granted. I will now know that there exists strength of endurance in a human heart to press forward even in the darkest of times.

I can say with certainty that I and the rest of your family will always remember you as we celebrate your life for the duration of ours. Goodbye and we will all see you soon.

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