Lamenting Stories Unfinished
On Saturday, I attended the funeral service for a dear friend of the community, Warren Boehm. I have known Warren for years and was pleased to see so many people at the church where his service was held. I was unfamiliar with the timing of things, though; rather than have the chance to talk about Warren at the end of the Mass, which I’m used to doing, select speakers were invited at the beginning of the service to share their memories.
Kaipo Chock, president of the CV Chamber of Commerce, spoke from the heart, telling of his time at the chamber and of holding the position today that Warren did so many years ago. Then Warren’s daughter Terry took the mic to talk to those gathered about the kind of dad Warren was. She was articulate and well prepared; she brought home for us what made her dad special.
One of the people I most wanted to hear from was a friend for many years of Warren’s. He and Warren were buddies dating back decades, and they served together on Montrose Search and Rescue. I thought everyone was riveted as he shared his experiences with Warren; apparently I was wrong.
Not long into his story telling, a woman (I think she worked for the church) walked up the side aisle and informed him “comments were to be shared at the reception following the service.”
Are you kidding?
What was the reason that these memories were cut short? Maybe there was another service taking place immediately following Warren’s service, and this woman was the timekeeper who needed to make sure that everyone was kept on schedule. But this friend was asked by the family to share his memories of someone who was loved by the community.
Since launching the Crescenta Valley Weekly, I have been sensitive to the fact that the obituaries we place in the paper may be the last time the deceased will be in print. I feel it is a sacred responsibility to make sure that the memories that are shared in print with the public are not overly tampered with, that the essence of the person being remembered is kept intact. It saddens me that those whose business is to facilitate a fitting remembrance of an individual do not share those same tenets.
If a friend at a funeral speaks long, then, to me, the officiates should amend the amount of time that they are speaking rather than cut short the memories of someone who has something meaningful to share.
As I’m sure you can tell, I was mad as a hornet and actually left the service so I could cool my heels. Upon my return, I was subdued for the rest of the service. I was pleased to see, though, that at the reception, Warren’s friend did get to share some of those fond memories that were otherwise cut short.