just some thoughts

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greybeard

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Been a difficult week, and I can't sleep. My brother's property (24 acres) next to me went on the market early last week, and I spent a good amount of time going back and forth with my tractor getting his implements off the property. There are no structures on the property and they weren't to be sold as part of the sale. Seven 4000' round trips, hooking each piece of equipment up on the 3 point hitch and lining them up not far from my house to be sold separately later. I have one more trip to make over there, to lay his big deer stand down (somehow) and move it at least over on to my side of the fence, thru the gate he & I built and installed 2 years ago so he could drive right up to his deer stand.

The last personal chapter of this story was played out yesterday morning.

It was his wish that his ashes be scattered in mid channel of Bolivar Roads, off the Bolivar to Galveston ferry. The same channel that the eye of Hurricane Ike tore thru in Sept, 2008, totally destroying his beach home in the process. (By June 2009 he had built a new home at the same location)

My sister-in-law had called me in February and asked me to get it set up so we could do as he asked, and I did, thru Texas Dept of Transportation that runs the state's ferry system. They were quite happy to accommodate us, I gave the office lady the time and date and she said she would schedule it with the capt and crew. We were to park off to the side of the landing and walk on, so we would be assured of us all getting on the same run, since us driving on might not allow for that due to the number of vehicles.
By 10am Sat morning, all had arrived from Arkansas, my 2 sisters, Jane & I and our extended families from Texas were there and ready to board when the 10:30 run landed on the Bolivar side. His widow held the box containing the bag with his remains, and the US flag I had asked her to bring as well. (Same one the honor guard had folded and presented to her at his memorial service last Nov in Little Rock)

As now, sole patriarch of this family, I took the box before we boarded. told her,"I'll take him from here Bonnie, you hold on to the flag".
I will go in to some detail here, in case any of you have never done it and/or may have an occasion to do it in the future.
It was a relatively small box, 10" X 6" X 5" and I was kind of surprised at it's weight. Easily 6 or 7 lbs. I thought it would be much lighter.
The bag was clear, tied at the top with a cable tie. The 'ashes' are white, maybe the color of corn flour and about the same consistency..like a coarse sand. Maybe 6" of slack bag above the tie.

I gathered everyone, especially his widow and his kids and their spouses, and explained that I wanted them to do the actual 'scattering' as a group, right after the prayer I had put together was done. I repeated what the Ferry woman had told me, to make sure we hold the bag low over the gunwale to ensure none of the ashes blew back on the ferry or any of the cars. It was very windy there, and I paid attention to the wind direction and said we would do it on the trip over, as that would put the wind blowing off the stern.
It is customary, when scattering remains on water, to follow them with flower petals, as the ashes immediately begin to sink and the petals will float. A visual I suppose.

Friday evening, I had gone around my yard and pulled a ziplock back of white, red and yellow roses and some Texas Bluebonnet blooms and everyone else had brought their own as well.

After the Ray Stoker Jr. came into the landing, we and the non family passengers were directed to walk on. I told the first deckhand who we were, and he said "We know, we've been expecting you" so TxDot did their best in all measure to make this happen. He directed us to go up on the upper deck until all the cars were loaded, and we were underway and an announcement would be made when it was time for us to go down to the stern of the vessel. After we were seated, clutching that box close to my chest, I noticed that the crew had held the last 6 cars off, and realized the Capt was giving us room. Not a small gesture, considering the wait times at each landing can be very long on weekends. The crossing takes about 20 minutes each way. A few minutes underway, the Capt made an announcement, asking all others to move away from the stern as a memorial service was to be done. We went down, and one of the crew told me "We will be making a turn to the right in just a couple of minutes, and that will put the wind off the aft port quarter..That's the best time to scatter the ashes". One of the crew dropped the Texas flag to the bottom of the mast and then raised it back to half mast.

I had chosen, a traditional prayer that is used by the US Navy when a US Sailor is buried at sea..a combination actually of both the protestant and catholic prayers. It was hard to get thru.
Lord God,
by the power of your Word
you stilled the chaos of the primeval seas,
you made the raging waters of the Flood subside,
and calmed the storm on the sea of Galilee.
As we commit the earthly remains
of our shipmate, brother, husband, father and friend to the deep,
grant him peace and tranquility
until that day when he
and all who believe in you
will be raised to the glory of new life
promised in the waters of baptism.

We therefore commit the earthly remains of Ron to the deep,
looking for the general Resurrection in the last day,
and the life of the world to come,
through our Lord Jesus Christ; at whose second coming in glorious majesty to judge the world,
the sea shall give up her dead;
and the corruptible bodies of those who sleep in him shall be changed,
and made like unto his glorious body; according to the mighty working
whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen."


They held the bag over the side, slit a hole in the bottom, and the remains of my precious brother went back to the sea he so loved.
We then tossed out the handfulls of petals on the water, watched them drift off in the wake and tide and heard a long blast of the vessel's horn. Ensign back down, then raised to full mast and Finally, after all this time, he was home again in Texas.

Over the last 2 years of his life, I cried every day, scared of losing him...scared too of how I would endure him being gone. It has been kind of odd. It is not that he is gone..it's that "we" are gone. I miss the calls and texts..he used to, when doing that awful chemo, call me in the middle of the night. I had gotten in the habit of sleeping with my cell phone within reach. The one I will never forget was when he called about 3am and said "I wish I had a small shed or barn on that property and a couple of cows so I could at least say I had some cows". I offered to give him some, but he said "no, I've waited too late for that now."
I knew, he was wanting to come back home, but he just couldn't find a way to make it happen. He was devoted to the school district he worked for and to the kids at the school, but his boss worked him like a dog, even when he was taking chemo. His youngest daughter texted me late last night to tell me they had made it back to Little Rock. I texted her back with this: You tell all those people at Sheridan schools, They can all go to hell...Ron's gone to Texas.

She said "I'll do that Uncle Don, I'll sure do that, for all of us".

I'll see him again someday, but till then, I have to do the other thing I promised. I have to try, to live enough for both of us.
 

callmefence

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greybeard":1947bdzl said:
Been a difficult week, and I can't sleep. My brother's property (24 acres) next to me went on the market early last week, and I spent a good amount of time going back and forth with my tractor getting his implements off the property. There are no structures on the property and they weren't to be sold as part of the sale. Seven 4000' round trips, hooking each piece of equipment up on the 3 point hitch and lining them up not far from my house to be sold separately later. I have one more trip to make over there, to lay his big deer stand down (somehow) and move it at least over on to my side of the fence, thru the gate he & I built and installed 2 years ago so he could drive right up to his deer stand.

The last personal chapter of this story was played out yesterday morning.

It was his wish that his ashes be scattered in mid channel of Bolivar Roads, off the Bolivar to Galveston ferry. The same channel that the eye of Hurricane Ike tore thru in Sept, 2008, totally destroying his beach home in the process. (By June 2009 he had built a new home at the same location)

My sister-in-law had called me in February and asked me to get it set up so we could do as he asked, and I did, thru Texas Dept of Transportation that runs the state's ferry system. They were quite happy to accommodate us, I gave the office lady the time and date and she said she would schedule it with the capt and crew. We were to park off to the side of the landing and walk on, so we would be assured of us all getting on the same run, since us driving on might not allow for that due to the number of vehicles.
By 10am Sat morning, all had arrived from Arkansas, my 2 sisters, Jane & I and our extended families from Texas were there and ready to board when the 10:30 run landed on the Bolivar side. His widow held the box containing the bag with his remains, and the US flag I had asked her to bring as well. (Same one the honor guard had folded and presented to her at his memorial service last Nov in Little Rock)

As now, sole patriarch of this family, I took the box before we boarded. told her,"I'll take him from here Bonnie, you hold on to the flag".
I will go in to some detail here, in case any of you have never done it and/or may have an occasion to do it in the future.
It was a relatively small box, 10" X 6" X 5" and I was kind of surprised at it's weight. Easily 6 or 7 lbs. I thought it would be much lighter.
The bag was clear, tied at the top with a cable tie. The 'ashes' are white, maybe the color of corn flour and about the same consistency..like a coarse sand. Maybe 6" of slack bag above the tie.

I gathered everyone, especially his widow and his kids and their spouses, and explained that I wanted them to do the actual 'scattering' as a group, right after the prayer I had put together was done. I repeated what the Ferry woman had told me, to make sure we hold the bag low over the gunwale to ensure none of the ashes blew back on the ferry or any of the cars. It was very windy there, and I paid attention to the wind direction and said we would do it on the trip over, as that would put the wind blowing off the stern.
It is customary, when scattering remains on water, to follow them with flower petals, as the ashes immediately begin to sink and the petals will float. A visual I suppose.

Friday evening, I had gone around my yard and pulled a ziplock back of white, red and yellow roses and some Texas Bluebonnet blooms and everyone else had brought their own as well.

After the Ray Stoker Jr. came into the landing, we and the non family passengers were directed to walk on. I told the first deckhand who we were, and he said "We know, we've been expecting you" so TxDot did their best in all measure to make this happen. He directed us to go up on the upper deck until all the cars were loaded, and we were underway and an announcement would be made when it was time for us to go down to the stern of the vessel. After we were seated, clutching that box close to my chest, I noticed that the crew had held the last 6 cars off, and realized the Capt was giving us room. Not a small gesture, considering the wait times at each landing can be very long on weekends. The crossing takes about 20 minutes each way. A few minutes underway, the Capt made an announcement, asking all others to move away from the stern as a memorial service was to be done. We went down, and one of the crew told me "We will be making a turn to the right in just a couple of minutes, and that will put the wind off the aft port quarter..That's the best time to scatter the ashes". One of the crew dropped the Texas flag to the bottom of the mast and then raised it back to half mast.

I had chosen, a traditional prayer that is used by the US Navy when a US Sailor is buried at sea..a combination actually of both the protestant and catholic prayers. It was hard to get thru.
Lord God,
by the power of your Word
you stilled the chaos of the primeval seas,
you made the raging waters of the Flood subside,
and calmed the storm on the sea of Galilee.
As we commit the earthly remains
of our shipmate, brother, husband, father and friend to the deep,
grant him peace and tranquility
until that day when he
and all who believe in you
will be raised to the glory of new life
promised in the waters of baptism.

We therefore commit the earthly remains of Ron to the deep,
looking for the general Resurrection in the last day,
and the life of the world to come,
through our Lord Jesus Christ; at whose second coming in glorious majesty to judge the world,
the sea shall give up her dead;
and the corruptible bodies of those who sleep in him shall be changed,
and made like unto his glorious body; according to the mighty working
whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen."


They held the bag over the side, slit a hole in the bottom, and the remains of my precious brother went back to the sea he so loved.
We then tossed out the handfulls of petals on the water, watched them drift off in the wake and tide and heard a long blast of the vessel's horn. Ensign back down, then raised to full mast and Finally, after all this time, he was home again in Texas.

Over the last 2 years of his life, I cried every day, scared of losing him...scared too of how I would endure him being gone. It has been kind of odd. It is not that he is gone..it's that "we" are gone. I miss the calls and texts..he used to, when doing that awful chemo, call me in the middle of the night. I had gotten in the habit of sleeping with my cell phone within reach. The one I will never forget was when he called about 3am and said "I wish I had a small shed or barn on that property and a couple of cows so I could at least say I had some cows". I offered to give him some, but he said "no, I've waited too late for that now."
I knew, he was wanting to come back home, but he just couldn't find a way to make it happen. He was devoted to the school district he worked for and to the kids at the school, but his boss worked him like a dog, even when he was taking chemo. His youngest daughter texted me late last night to tell me they had made it back to Little Rock. I texted her back with this: You tell all those people at Sheridan schools, They can all go to be nice...Ron's gone to Texas.

She said "I'll do that Uncle Don, I'll sure do that, for all of us".

I'll see him again someday, but till then, I have to do the other thing I promised. I have to try, to live enough for both of us.

From the very little bit I know you. I feel confident in saying. Any man alive should be proud if he ever makes it to half the man you are.
 

bbirder

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GB,

Sounds like a memorial service to be proud of. I will never make that crossing again, without a salute at the point for him.
 

Caustic Burno

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GB sorry for the loss of your brother to that I can relate. They say twins are even closer and to that I can’t relate.
If the pain is worse than the unbearable pain of the loss of a brother I don’t know how you get up in the mornings.
 

Bigfoot

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Very touching story. My brother and I get along really well, but are not what I would call close. Makes me want to build or relationship.
 

Bestoutwest

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What a wonderful thing those folks at Texas DOT did for you and your family. In a world perceived to be filled with only negativity, it's nice to see that there are some folks who still do right by others.

I'm sorry for your loss. I will never know that pain as I am an only child, and I'm not close with my cousins. I can't imagine what you're feeling right now. May you find solace in the fact that your brother has now returned to Texas.
 

Texas Gal

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GB,

I feel your pain on one level having buried two brothers. I cannot imagine losing a twin.


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

skyhightree1

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greybeard":2mcw1qih said:
Been a difficult week, and I can't sleep. My brother's property (24 acres) next to me went on the market early last week, and I spent a good amount of time going back and forth with my tractor getting his implements off the property. There are no structures on the property and they weren't to be sold as part of the sale. Seven 4000' round trips, hooking each piece of equipment up on the 3 point hitch and lining them up not far from my house to be sold separately later. I have one more trip to make over there, to lay his big deer stand down (somehow) and move it at least over on to my side of the fence, thru the gate he & I built and installed 2 years ago so he could drive right up to his deer stand.

The last personal chapter of this story was played out yesterday morning.

It was his wish that his ashes be scattered in mid channel of Bolivar Roads, off the Bolivar to Galveston ferry. The same channel that the eye of Hurricane Ike tore thru in Sept, 2008, totally destroying his beach home in the process. (By June 2009 he had built a new home at the same location)

My sister-in-law had called me in February and asked me to get it set up so we could do as he asked, and I did, thru Texas Dept of Transportation that runs the state's ferry system. They were quite happy to accommodate us, I gave the office lady the time and date and she said she would schedule it with the capt and crew. We were to park off to the side of the landing and walk on, so we would be assured of us all getting on the same run, since us driving on might not allow for that due to the number of vehicles.
By 10am Sat morning, all had arrived from Arkansas, my 2 sisters, Jane & I and our extended families from Texas were there and ready to board when the 10:30 run landed on the Bolivar side. His widow held the box containing the bag with his remains, and the US flag I had asked her to bring as well. (Same one the honor guard had folded and presented to her at his memorial service last Nov in Little Rock)

As now, sole patriarch of this family, I took the box before we boarded. told her,"I'll take him from here Bonnie, you hold on to the flag".
I will go in to some detail here, in case any of you have never done it and/or may have an occasion to do it in the future.
It was a relatively small box, 10" X 6" X 5" and I was kind of surprised at it's weight. Easily 6 or 7 lbs. I thought it would be much lighter.
The bag was clear, tied at the top with a cable tie. The 'ashes' are white, maybe the color of corn flour and about the same consistency..like a coarse sand. Maybe 6" of slack bag above the tie.

I gathered everyone, especially his widow and his kids and their spouses, and explained that I wanted them to do the actual 'scattering' as a group, right after the prayer I had put together was done. I repeated what the Ferry woman had told me, to make sure we hold the bag low over the gunwale to ensure none of the ashes blew back on the ferry or any of the cars. It was very windy there, and I paid attention to the wind direction and said we would do it on the trip over, as that would put the wind blowing off the stern.
It is customary, when scattering remains on water, to follow them with flower petals, as the ashes immediately begin to sink and the petals will float. A visual I suppose.

Friday evening, I had gone around my yard and pulled a ziplock back of white, red and yellow roses and some Texas Bluebonnet blooms and everyone else had brought their own as well.

After the Ray Stoker Jr. came into the landing, we and the non family passengers were directed to walk on. I told the first deckhand who we were, and he said "We know, we've been expecting you" so TxDot did their best in all measure to make this happen. He directed us to go up on the upper deck until all the cars were loaded, and we were underway and an announcement would be made when it was time for us to go down to the stern of the vessel. After we were seated, clutching that box close to my chest, I noticed that the crew had held the last 6 cars off, and realized the Capt was giving us room. Not a small gesture, considering the wait times at each landing can be very long on weekends. The crossing takes about 20 minutes each way. A few minutes underway, the Capt made an announcement, asking all others to move away from the stern as a memorial service was to be done. We went down, and one of the crew told me "We will be making a turn to the right in just a couple of minutes, and that will put the wind off the aft port quarter..That's the best time to scatter the ashes". One of the crew dropped the Texas flag to the bottom of the mast and then raised it back to half mast.

I had chosen, a traditional prayer that is used by the US Navy when a US Sailor is buried at sea..a combination actually of both the protestant and catholic prayers. It was hard to get thru.
Lord God,
by the power of your Word
you stilled the chaos of the primeval seas,
you made the raging waters of the Flood subside,
and calmed the storm on the sea of Galilee.
As we commit the earthly remains
of our shipmate, brother, husband, father and friend to the deep,
grant him peace and tranquility
until that day when he
and all who believe in you
will be raised to the glory of new life
promised in the waters of baptism.

We therefore commit the earthly remains of Ron to the deep,
looking for the general Resurrection in the last day,
and the life of the world to come,
through our Lord Jesus Christ; at whose second coming in glorious majesty to judge the world,
the sea shall give up her dead;
and the corruptible bodies of those who sleep in him shall be changed,
and made like unto his glorious body; according to the mighty working
whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen."


They held the bag over the side, slit a hole in the bottom, and the remains of my precious brother went back to the sea he so loved.
We then tossed out the handfulls of petals on the water, watched them drift off in the wake and tide and heard a long blast of the vessel's horn. Ensign back down, then raised to full mast and Finally, after all this time, he was home again in Texas.

Over the last 2 years of his life, I cried every day, scared of losing him...scared too of how I would endure him being gone. It has been kind of odd. It is not that he is gone..it's that "we" are gone. I miss the calls and texts..he used to, when doing that awful chemo, call me in the middle of the night. I had gotten in the habit of sleeping with my cell phone within reach. The one I will never forget was when he called about 3am and said "I wish I had a small shed or barn on that property and a couple of cows so I could at least say I had some cows". I offered to give him some, but he said "no, I've waited too late for that now."
I knew, he was wanting to come back home, but he just couldn't find a way to make it happen. He was devoted to the school district he worked for and to the kids at the school, but his boss worked him like a dog, even when he was taking chemo. His youngest daughter texted me late last night to tell me they had made it back to Little Rock. I texted her back with this: You tell all those people at Sheridan schools, They can all go to be nice...Ron's gone to Texas.

She said "I'll do that Uncle Don, I'll sure do that, for all of us".

I'll see him again someday, but till then, I have to do the other thing I promised. I have to try, to live enough for both of us.

You did him right and your family.... :tiphat:
 

JSCATTLE

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I'm sorry for your loss GB. We spend a lot of time on bolivar and Galveston during the summer. I've ridden the stokes Jr many times. But I won't ride it again without thinking of you and your brother . God bless..
 

bball

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Thank you for sharing such a powerful and intimate aspect of your mourning. I am convinced, the relationship you shared with your brother is a rarity that very few people have the fortune to experience. You honored him well and you continue to honor him. You both were blessed to have one another. I wish you peace, comfort and respite along the remainder of your journey. I hope someone in my life, cares half as much for me, as you do for your brother. I would consider myself blessed. I hope that sharing as you have, somehow eased your pain, even if only for a brief time. I hope you continue to share, as you deem fitting, more about the relationship you shared with your brother. I find it uplifting and am certain many more members do as well. And if you chose not to, well, that's just fine too.

Requiescat in pace, brother of Greybeard.
 

True Grit Farms

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bball":14t15vqh said:
Thank you for sharing such a powerful and intimate aspect of your mourning. I am convinced, the relationship you shared with your brother is a rarity that very few people have the fortune to experience. You honored him well and you continue to honor him. You both were blessed to have one another. I wish you peace, comfort and respite along the remainder of your journey. I hope someone in my life, cares half as much for me, as you do for your brother. I would consider myself blessed. I hope that sharing as you have, somehow eased your pain, even if only for a brief time. I hope you continue to share, as you deem fitting, more about the relationship you shared with your brother. I find it uplifting and am certain many more members do as well. And if you chose not to, well, that's just fine too.

Requiescat in pace, brother of Greybeard.

BBall, you need to do a search on Greybeard and his brother during Vietnam. As I recall his brother was on a medic ship treating the wounded and the handling the deceased. They somehow managed to hook up in the middle of the sea for a hello and good by. Pretty awesome read.
 

snoopdog

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That is a real nice tribute , I'm sure he is smiling , sorry for your loss. It's hard but we have to remember to celebrate the life not mourn the body .
 
A

Anonymous

I have been in and out of that channel several times in the past years. When/if I ever find myself in the area again, I'm sure I'll remember this and think of you and your brother.
 

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