I don't like funerals, never have and never will because of that.
A dear friend of mine posted a photograph on my profile yesterday of a poster inviting people to attend the funeral of a homeless veteran. He had no family, no friends, but he was a United States Navy Veteran, so he had that brotherhood. I fought every fiber in my being that didn't want to attend. But, my sense of duty finally won out.
When I arrived at the funeral this morning, I was stunned at how many people were there. Active duty military, retired military, civilians, and even police officers were in attendance. The Patriot Riders Motorcycle Club was there as well. Looking out at the number of people in attendance, I was forced to obscure my face from the crowd because I didn't want anyone to see tears welling up in my eyes.
As I made the drive back home, I was just numb. I hate to be reminded of my own mortality, yet this funeral was something more than just a reminder. It was a revelatory event that underscored the fact
It was selfish on my part, but I found myself wondering who would be at my funeral. I have family, some very wonderful friends, and a hope that they would be there to comfort my family in the event of my sudden departure. It was a solemn and very quite ride back home.
We don't know the story of this homeless veteran, and we may never know. What we do know, however, is that even though he was homeless, even though he had no family, people showed up to wish him "fair winds and following seas."
No one should ever die alone.