Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Part 11: The procession, and the cemetery.
I took a little break from posting, but want to try to continue telling Rowan's story. So, here is the post detailing the procession from his funeral to the cemetery, and the service at the cemetery. His life was honored well, but ended with the hardest thing I have ever had to witness...watching your child's casket being lowered into the ground and covered...forever. I obviously did not take many pictures, but here are the few I did.
Thank you to the pall bearers: Shannon Windham, Gabe Abdo, Logan Barnes, Phil Seelig, Matt Ducote, Jason Cox, and then Bradley Mefford as well at the cemetery.
Thank you Olinger-Saenz Mortuary Services for providing the preparation and transport of Rowan's body. You did so honorably and respectfully.
This was our view from the front as we drove from San Antonio to New Braunfels. So difficult to be separated from your child, even when it is just their body.
We also want to thank the SAPD motorcycle officers who handled the traffic for the procession, as well as the Comal County K9 unit officers for leading the procession in the SUVS. Also assisting us in honoring Rowan and joining in the procession were the Patriot Guard and Guardians of the Children. I did not get photographs of them on their bikes, but thank you.
Here are a few pictures that a friend took from further back in the procession. Over 600 attended the funeral, over 20,000 watched it live online, and over 200 attended the cemetery. At some points the procession was as far as the eye could see. There was even a fire truck waiting at the entrance of the cemetery to welcome their brother Rowan. All this, for one 10 year old little boy. Such a blessing. Such an honor.
The Texas Army National Guard promoted Rowan from Private First Class, to Specialist, in a very tearful ceremony at the cemetery. They read the promotion, presented us with it, as well as with his Cavalry Stetson, and a folded flag. Such a tremendous honor. We posted video of it on Facebook, but I did not take photographs during it myself.
Cindy Buethe, Rowan's home nurse, read a speech to her best friend Rowan, whom she cared for and loved for 8 years in a row. It was beautiful. Then, Rowan's sweet 'Lil Guardian' friend Briana Lopez told the story of how Rowan changed her life, followed by a poem she wrote us for him. Finally, Kainoa Kamaka played ukulele and sang a beautiful rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Again, we posted videos of some of this, but I did not take photos myself. I was just in the moment.
Then came the most difficult part...transferring Rowan's body from the pavilion to his plot, lowering him into the ground, covering his casket with the concrete liner, and then covering that with dirt. It sucks the air from your lungs, turns your knees to jello, and crushes your already broken heart. I nearly fainted. No one should ever have to watch their babies be buried. This made it feel truly real for the first time, since he passed.
At this point we all had to leave the cemetery. Driving away, even though I knew it was just his body laying in that grave...even though I knew he was whole and new, playing with his friends in Heaven...was so unbelievably difficult. It just doesn't feel right leaving your child, or any part of them. I knew I would see him again in heaven. I knew I would be back to bring him flowers, sit by his gravesite and just talk to him, I knew all of that, but it still hurt.
Then I thought of every time Rowan visited a friend's grave (which was many times), every time he smiled as he prayed there for them. He never left a friend's grave sad, never left crying...I tried to remember his sweet face as he sat at their graves smiling, thinking of fun times he had with them, and of how happy they were in Heaven, and how he couldn't wait to get there and be with them. Pictures like this ran through my mind...
Again, Rowan was helping me cope, helping me see the good, even in the darkest of times. Thank you son. I may need a lot more reminders...but something tells me that you will give them to me.
I love you and I miss you Rowan.
I've had 62 days without you...
but you've had 62 days with Jesus...