Before and After, Day 7: Remembering & Comfort – A Memorial Service

(Start HERE  for full “Before and After” series)

Carol’s (Gordon’s wife) thoughts on the Memorial Service November 12, 2005:

(Pastor Vern and Carol at the funeral)

God gave me the music one  special song at a time.

* Right after the phone call on my way home from Missoula, I heard “I Can Only Imagine” and knew the situation was bad and I might need that song.

* Tuesday morning between Big Timber and Billings, before knowing Gordon had died, I heard “Blessed Be Your Name” and thought I might need it, too.

* Gordon also loved “How Great Thou Art” (Harvest style!) and “How Great is our God.”

* Brian wanted “It is well with My Soul.”

* I added “You Are my All in All.”

* The next morning on his computer, Brian played “Marvelous Light” and as the words jumped out at me, I knew we needed to add it. I contacted the church office to tell Worship Music Leader, Mike Brumit please play it at the end and “Let ‘er rip!”

Everyone commented on what an amazing funeral it was. To God be the glory.

Carol continues:

Vern was the main pastor of our marvelous memorial service, even with two pastors (Harold and Galen in the family). They each brought something special to the pulpit.

Vern built his message around Jeremiah 22:14 “I will build myself a roomy house, with spacious upper rooms, and cut out it’s windows, paneling it with cedar and painting it bright red.” Who even knew painting was even in the Bible! He talked about how Gordon painted Vern’s office red and how paint covers, changes thing. And that Jesus’ red blood also covers, changes us.

He talked about Omega for Gordon and in the Bible. (Omega Painting was the name of Gordon’s business—He said it was because the painters are the last ones out the door in a building project.) Vern tied together Gordon’s everyday business with the relevant word of God and even Vern was amazed at how easily this message came together.

600 chairs were set up. More were added. We started late because people were still coming. Kathy Wolfe played the keyboard while thirty photos, picked out by Megan, played across the screens.(Kathy’s husband played softball with Gordon for years and they were referred to as the “old guys”). Family photo albums were open on a table for people to look at with bowls of Skittles (Gordon’s favorite candy and found in his fanny pack. One was even found along the trail.) The auditorium was full of friends and people in the trades! Gordon had friends everywhere. Gordon’s sister, Carol has always said “This is Gordon’s city!” and he loved it.

excerpts from Dad’s remarks:
He begins with this quote: Some of the most famous poetic lines in English literature were written by Alan Seeger, prior to his service in WWI where he lost his life. The words are these, very simple: “I have a rendezvous with Death, at some disputed barricade” He lost his life in France.

And closed his remarks with: “So given all of that, what really did happen on that mountain side a few days ago? Well I like to think that Gordon had a rendezvous for sure, but not with death. He had a rendezvous with God. Since coming to Billings, we have listened 3-4 times to the explanation of the people who were on the mountain top with him . . . the search party members . . . the medical team members. I have listened to the story over and over. And I cannot escape the fact that somebody . . . somebody was putting things together in an absolutely uncanny way and it wasn’t man. It was God. He had a rendezvous alright, but it was a rendezvous with God. God said “It’s time to come home.

“I stood by Esther my wife, last evening as we were there with Gordon alone. I said “Honey, there’s got to be a resurrection. There’s just got to be a resurrection.” Thank God, it’s coming.”

A few closing thoughts surrounding the day and the day after from me, the sister,Carol.

In addition to the remarks by Dad and Vern, Galen shares a tribute from the family and includes a time when people from the audience could share memories. It was a precious time hearing some stories me and my family never knew. As I continue to add to this site, I’ll include some of those in subsequent post.

The day has been a “good” one. The love of the people who came, stayed afterwards to hug and love us was comforting. Tears mixed with smiles as they remembered and cared for us.

Sitting on the couch with Carol either that night or Sunday night, trying to watch a movie, looking at each other with tears and giving up on the movie. I crawled into bed with her that night for awhile as we talked and were just together. I worry about what it will be like for her when we are all gone.

As I get in the car after the events of the day with Mom and Dad, the radio comes on and is playing the old spiritual, “I’ll fly away.”

Sunday morning finds us in church. Where else would we want to be?

That evening, the guys go over to the church to climb the climbing wall.

Mostly I think we just all wanted to be together.

I have no idea where this journey will take me,  but I am determined to take one day at a time and follow this path. I do not want to take shortcuts. I have a feeling that won’t work anyway.

Click HERE to continue to “Day 8”



5 Replies to “Before and After, Day 7: Remembering & Comfort – A Memorial Service”

  1. my prayer each time i post is that what i write will be an encouragement to someone who reads. Thanks MIM for letting me know. You have had your own grief, losing your own brother. Love you cuz.

  2. What great testimonies of God’s sustaining power and strength!!! What an encouragement to read these thoughts!!

  3. What wonderful memories. Taking one day at a time. Umm… Why is that always so hard to do yet it is the only way we can do it?

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