Monday, September 10, 2012

The Memorial Service

I feel like so much has happened in the past couple of days I don't know what to write first...
My husband has held himself together so well through all of this... I hope he knows just how much I admire him. How he would hold up when what has happened over the past few days did happen is something I have worried about for months now... I remember when we were told his father probably would not make it through September... and I know how panic stricken my husband was then. I know it has helped that thankfully we are here... The dignity and strength he has shown through this... he just never ceases to amaze me.
Yesterday evening was the memorial service for his father... but the day could not even start out calmly for us... instead... well...
My husband had just left to go pick up his suit from the cleaners, and my children were fighting over a toy bus... a big toy bus. I turned my back for a split second, and heard a LOUD hit... and my son began to cry. So, I scooped my daughter up and put her in her room... then headed back to attend to my little guy... when I came around the corner and saw him - he had turned over but was still on the couch, and there were spurts of blood on the couch, and table... and I ran to him and picked him up, and there was just this flow of blood coming from his nose.
Holding my wounded angel I ran to the kitchen, and since we had no ice, I grabbed the next best thing, a pack of frozen veggies... came to the computer and sat down trying to hold the veggies on my squirming extremely upset little guy, and instant message my mom who was online downstairs... because getting to the phone just seemed impossible. All I said to her was "help" and then again "help" and she starts coming back with what's wrong, etc... and I just yelled as loud as I could through the floor HELP!! She got up here and helped me calm down... and showed me (reminded me, because I was stuck in "oh shit my sweet baby is bleeding a LOT" mode) to lean him back and pinch the top of his nose... and once he calmed down and the bleeding stopped, I realized we did not have to take a trip to the emergency room my heart returned to a normal beat again. But yesterday my poor little guy just had a hard day. First that, then when we put him down for his nap, the no leak plug came out of his sippy cup... he was just not settling down and we went to check afraid his nose was bleeding again... and he was totally drenched.
My poor little guy.... after that I wanted to just take him with us - but I knew that would just be impossible. It was just a hell of a morning... one paragraph does not do it justice at all. There really is not even a mark on his nose now... but just... I had blood all over me, all over him, all over the couch... it scared me so badly.
The memorial service started at 5, of course we were there early with my mother-in-law to set everything up... so we knew it would be a really long night. However, all things considered, it went very well. The flowers everyone sent were just breathtaking... (I will probably post pictures of the flowers that we took back to our house later, my mother-in-law took the plants to her house so we can plant them in the ground for her.) I really don't know what all to say - it was just an intensely emotional night. The actual service was written in it's entirety by my husband's brother... and what he wrote was just amazing.
Because nothing I could say could ever do it justice, I checked with my husband and got the "ok" to post it. - Names have been altered (last names removed) and such... because I have to be careful - but this needs to be shared.
A little introduction: there were two speakers. A chaplain, and a 32rd degree Mason (called "Master" in the text.)
Joseph Vincent

Memorial Service- July 21, 2005


Friends and family, let us console ourselves with these brief words of understanding and comfort:          
Blessed is the man whose strength is in Thee, in whose heart are the highways to Thy will. Passing through the valley of weeping, they turn it to a fountain of strength. Yes, into a rain shower abundant with blessing.  Thus they go on from strength to strength, until each appeareth before Thee in Zion.


Friends and family, we are united in this moment of sorrow to bid farewell to one of our beloved. It is well that we pause to ask God's blessing upon us, for only in Him can we find strength and hope.  Let us pray.


Almighty God, grant us Your blessing as we meet on this solemn occasion.  Help us to look beyond the darkness and sadness of this moment to the light and hope of tomorrow. You know we are weak and unable to stand alone.  Fill us then with the power and comfort of Your presence that we may say with assurance, as did Job of old in his grief, "The Lord gaveth, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord."  Amen.

Friends and family, we are gathered here today to pay our last respects to a great man, not on account of his material wealth or earthly possessions; not on account of his power or influence over other men, but simply because of his good works and the abundant love in his heart.  It was this love for all people that made this man a great man, for nothing is greater, no earthly force more dominant, than the power of Love.

He is survived by his wife [name removed], his sons Joseph and Andrew, grandsons [name removed] and Aidan, granddaughters Amanda, [name removed] and Jillian   and countless friends, family, and associates all of whom attest to his sincerity, honesty, giving nature, and sense of humor that made him unquestionably unique among men in any circle.

Joseph Vincent was Born: December, 26, 1927 in New York City;  He left our earthly family to unite with the heavenly family on July 19, 2005 in Franklin Square, NY.

Joseph Vincent was a paradox. Simultaneously a steadfast, reliable father and husband, he was also a staunch individualist, who readily introduced us all to a world of intrigue:
Late night philosophy sessions at [company name removed], recondite Cuban cigar connections, and a tooth fairy whose signature read: OSIRUS.

He loved the arts, specifically jazz and latino music, but also was an ardent student of history and of people. He was a great observer of people and knew much of about the various cultures of the world. His anecdotes were the stuff of legend, his lifetime experiences full and various, from driving Charlie Parker and Billie Holiday in his taxi cab, to his fabled journeys to Cuba and to Mexico. In a generation where many parents frowned upon their children pursuing the arts, Joseph Vincent readily encouraged, and invested in the talents of his sons, recognizing that all‑important need for man to express himself and to beautify his world. He loved his grandchildren. He loved his sons. He loved his wife. He loved them all passionately, beyond a doubt.

Anyone with a problem, or some trouble, could go to him, and find a friend, not only ready to help, but determined to remedy the situation so that it didn't happen again. He was, at his core, a fighter, on the side of his friends and family.   He took care of many, helped many. These were the good works that made him so special to all who knew him.  And even in the end, when the doctors had written him off, he continued to fight, not just that he might see more of life, but most probably, because he figured we all needed his help some more.

Almighty Father, into thy hands we commend the soul of our departed friend.

(Chaplain and Master will solemnly bow once.)
Let our hearts be lifted up by the words of those who from ancient times have trusted in the love and power of God. Let us Pray.

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, from Whom we come, in Whom we live and move and have our being, and unto Whom we return, we thank You for the gift of life; for its wonders and mysteries; for its friendships and fellowships. We thank You for the ties which bind us one to another; for the meaning which lies hidden even in the heart of sorrow and grief .... And for Your guiding hand along the way of our pilgrimage.

We give thanks to You for this Your servant, recalling all in him that made others love him. We thank You for the good and gracious influence in his home and training; for all the goodness and truth that have passed from his life into the lives of others and have made the world richer for his presence.

We pray for those whose hearts are heaviest and who in this moment need You more than ever. Guide them and bless them and lead them into that unfaltering trust that life does not end with death; that the Father who made us will care for us beyond the bounds of vision, even as He has cared for us in this earthly world.

We pray for a renewal of the gifts of faith, patience and enduring love in all of us.  Help us to walk amid the things of this world with eyes open to the beauty and glory of the eternal.  Amen.
To the family and friends of our departed friend, we extend our deepest sympathy.  We cannot fill the emptiness in your hearts.  We can only urge that you turn to God to sustain you in this hour.   Believe with the poet that "There is a land of pure delight where saints immortal reign, and sing with the Psalmist:  "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil . . . Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:   and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. May God grant you peace and keep you under His wing.  Amen.

My Friends, the thoughts of this hour are and should be solemn thoughts. But they should not be heavy with a weight of woe nor clouded with the darkness of hopeless grief. They should rather be solemn with the moving of the great ideas and deep emotions which stir to life in the hours when we are brought face to face with the great realities which underlie our existence. Human companionships are temporary in this world of change. It is not possible that the associations of a lifetime should be broken without a pang of pain and a wrench of parting which seem to rend our very souls.

Finding one day that one we have loved is no longer with us, we are as those on a new earth and under new heavens ‑‑ all things are changed.

At such a time certain ideals we all may espouse come back to us with renewed force. God, Immortality, Friendship: these are what we strive to keep before our eyes and in our minds. These are the thoughts which have power to comfort and uplift us now. While we mourn his loss, we rejoice that we are citizens of two worlds. He has preceded us and has joined our host of beloved in that other world where God, who is the Father and Master of us all, awaits his coming.

Always when we stand in the presence of death, we are tempted to ask the question as did the prophet of old:  "If a man die, shall he live again?"  How empty our lives would be if there were no answer to this question!   But God in His infinite mercy has given us the greatest gift of all,  the promise to dwell in our hearts when we diligently seek him. And, from that depth within each of us, we have always found the faith that sustains us even in the darkest and most difficult moments.   So we can say with certainty that just as surely as the questions of fear and doubt arise in our minds, so comes the assurance that life does not end with death.

The history of man and our present experiences in life bear testimony:
That only eternity can fulfill the dreams and hopes and ideals within each of us;
That a lifetime on earth is not enough;
That God in His infinite wisdom has plans far beyond our comprehension, plans which could not end in death.  This faith sustains us and helps to dispel the fears that surround us in death.

There is no death. What seems so is transition. All that is beautiful and good and true in human life is no more affected by the shadow of death than by the darkness that divides today from tomorrow.

Our paths lead not to the grave but through it. Immortal we are and ever shall be. We look not to another life, but to the perfecting of this one. In God's good time we shall be raised by His right hand to that higher, fairer phase of life for which this is only the preparation.

Friendship is refreshment and sweetness as we pass this way. It is much to feel that, wherever we are, we have friends, and that their friends are ours as well. Joseph Vincent's friends are lonely in this hour, but the friendship we felt for him extends to them. We, too, loved him.

We all feel the pain of parting. Our sympathy, our love, are yours as they were his. This entire gathering surrounds his loved ones with the assurance of our affection. We offer the support of our sympathy, the comfort of our faith, the inspiration of our hope, that we all may look beyond this hour through the opening portals of the infinite. So then, let us be unceasingly grateful for every God‑given virtue which the life of this great man expressed, and let us be comforted and sustained by the assurance that life goes on unbroken and uncorrupted and that God alone is the life and light of men.  

Let us pray.


O God, our heavenly Father, grant that we sorrow not as those who know not the promises contained in thy Holy Word; but may we look forward to the great gathering of thy faithful servants and children into their everlasting home. O thou in whom we trust, keep us by thy grace that we may live as the heirs of this blessed and glorious hope which thou hast so graciously set before us.

Committal Service

In as much as it has pleased Almighty God to call unto Himself the soul of our departed Brother, we therefore commit his body  to its final resting place, earth to earth, ashes to ashes and dust to dust, in the sure and certain hope of the Immortality of the Soul.
Let us pray.


Our Lord, support us all the day long in this troublous life until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is over and our work is done. Then in Thy mercy grant us a safe lodging and a Holy rest and peace at last.


We close this service with the comforting benediction from the Bible.

The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

End of service.
The way they did it was so calming and soothing... my husband even said a few of his own words after they were done, and asked for anyone to speak if they wanted too.

I guess that is all I will write for now. Tonight will hopefully be calm and easy... then tomorrow we will get my step-daughter and finally get to swim in our pool. The ups and downs of the week have just been so intense.

Thank you everyone who gave your condolences..

10:25 a.m.

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