Sunday at 5:30 p.m. was the start of Courtney's viewing. It was horrific. My dad took me. I asked him to have the room cleared so I could be with Courtney alone. I didnt know what I would say but I knew I needed it. So the room was cleared. I went in and now I have yet another image burned into my mind that I want nothing more than to forget. That person, was not him. It bore a slight, distant resemblance but was not him. Nothing was right. His head was not shaved, it was not shaped right. His coloring was way off, his hands looked dirty. He looked out of proportion. His gotee was tucked into his shirt. I gave them 3 different pictures just of his gotee so they could get it right. I gave him his judo black belt. It was a request of his mothers. I gave him airborne patches. I broke down and cried. I just felt so wrong. I left and did not return to that room. I sat outside with our friends. Many of them did not even enter the building. I tried to go in and sit several times but I never made it past the reception area. I could not even bring myself to look into the viewing room. Of course his mother sat in there the entire time. Though from several comments from friends that did enter, she was more into chit-chatting than focusing on Courtney. We all grieve differently and I dont want to dimean her loss but damnit how can you laugh and smile and talk about anything but him while he lies cold and wrong 2 feet away from you. The things that several friends gave to him finally made me smile and think about what a wonderful man he was. He received a lotto scratcher (I bet that damn thing is his big winner too), a bottle of bacardi, a shot glass the rest escapes me but those are the things he was, the things he is. I went to sleep early that night but again it was fitfull.
Monday 10:30 a.m. was the start of the funeral service. I did every possible thing in my power to avoid going. Our house was full of people waiting on me and my guilt finally pushed me out the door in just enough time to be late. I just couldnt stand the thought of facing everyone. I was a blubbering fool the entire mass. The scripture readings were so special and I am not a spiritual person. They spoke of he and I and I think even he would have approved. When his brother and his friend Mike spoke it killed me. It hurt so much like my heart was being ripped out again. Courtney was in the army, he is a veteran. They do not do veteran services in the church any longer now that we have a military cemetary close by. Our friend Wayne had his step father who once performed military services perform taps and he graciously presented me with a flag. It was amazing. Then the tears stopped. Once I stepped out of the church they just stopped. I couldnt cry anymore. People swarmed our house and it was just as he would have wanted it. The tears found me here and there but mostly I put on the face of content and played host. I later told Billy it hurt so much made me feel so hollow but really if I had just broken down like I wanted how would the day have ended? Noone would have made it through I would not have heard even half the new stories I heard.
Tuesday 11:30 was the internment. His full bore military resting place. They presented the boys with the flag from the service. They presented his parents with a second. He was honored with taps again. They took his ashes and when they put him in the ground, Billy, BJ and Wayne all took their souls out of their chests and they completed his burial. They covered him with the dirt, they brought him full circle. This gave me a sence of peace, a sliver of it will be okay, a notion that Courtney is still here. It was fleeting as we came home to an empty house. It is so hollow without him. Now is the time of night where we would all sit around and gabber about random non-sensical things. The time when he and I would let the boys all run wild so we could have a minute to ourselves. The time when we would put in notions of where we would be or what we wanted in the future. Now there is nothing. Just quite, just my thoughts. I try to keep the boys in mind and not dwell in my misery but now that the nothing of my future is fully upon me it is getting harder and harder.