Last week, Kevin and I, traveled back to New Hampshire to celebrate the short, but wonderful life on my life-long friend, Dean Gordon. Dean and his family, (especially his wife and soul-mate, Michele) had lost their 19-month battle with Leukemia on July 10, 2010.
In addition to his beloved wife and parents, he is survived by his three precious daughters, Krista DiPietro, Janelle Gordon and Kaleigh Gordon; three brothers, Gary Gordon and his wife Gail, Kevin Gordon and his wife Madeleine and Dale Gordon and his wife Julie and several nieces and nephews.
The funeral services were such a loving testament to Dean's memory and I have to say...it truly was a celebration of his life and I am so glad that we were able to attend and be with his friends and family. After the services and the mercy meal, we were able to go over to his brother, Dale's house and have a really wonderful visit with most of the family.
Thank goodness my Mom remembered that I had brought along my camera and we set up the timer to catch a group photo. Sorry that this came out a little fuzzy...but that's okay because we all can still tell who is who! From left to right, Julie Gordon, Bob Gordon, Virginia Philbrick, Kevin Gordon, Madeleine Gordon, Dale Gordon (standing). Down in the front is Mickey Gordon, Bonnie Philbrick, Bobbi Philbrick (me ;) and DH, Kevin Philbrick.
I also grabbed some individual shots that came out much clearer and wanted to share them here so that both of our families can see them as well. Below is a photo of Dean's parents, Bob & Mickey...aka Robert and Marjorie...but we've always called them Bob & Mickey ;) I have not seen any of the Gordon's since my Dad passed away six years ago when they all came to support us during his services. Never did I dream that we'd be brought back together for such a sad occasion.
Next up is a photo of one of Dean's older brothers, Dale and his wife, Julie...whose home was where we spent hours remembering our lives when we all lived together in the Army and we were stationed in Asmara, Ethiopia, East Africa and then Fort Richie, Maryland. Bob told us the wonderful story of how Dean got his nickname...Deano! When he was a little tyke in their yard in Asmara, Dean use to hit golf balls over the stone fence/wall to all the little native children who gathered in the streets. Then whenever the family would leave their house, the kids would shout out "Deano"...and his nickname was born. As Dean got older he did not like being called Deano and we all tried to remember that...but old habits are hard to break...lol
Next is a photo of another brother, Kevin and his wife, Madeleine. Kevin enjoyed telling us stories about how my Dad use to play with all the Gordon boys and how he broke their model airplane on it's native flight. That was the start of an on-going obsession of my Dad's to build, attempt to fly, crash and re-build model air-planes over the years...and this was NOT the reason my Dad was nick-named Crash by the Gordon's...that was from crashing race cars...lol
We were all laughing so hard over all the memories of our parents wild nights when they were young and going out on the town and breaking tables from "dancing on tabletops". Or the times when my Dad would come home from the race track so dirty that she would make him change his clothes outside in the shared breezeway and Bob & Mickey would hear my Mom shouting at my Dad..."God-_ _ _ _it Bay"...Bay was the family nickname for my Day...can you keep up ;)
Here's a collage of some different shots that I put together as well.
After we left the Gordon's, my Mom, my sister, Bonnie, and DH and myself, all headed back to my sister Bonnie's home. Along the way we stopped at the NH Veteran's Memorial Cemetery in Boscawen where my Dad is buried. I had not been back to his grave-sight since my cousin, Gail Allen, passed away less than two years later.
Some interesting information about how people are buried in the VA Cemetery is that couples caskets are placed on top of each other in the ground. Then the headstones are carved with the military members stats and then placed facing the front of the grave-sites and then their spouses names are carved/placed facing the backs. Gail is survived by her Veteran husband, Mike and until he joins her here, in their final resting place, then her stone faces front.
The cemetery was fairly new when my Dad passed and it has really developed with a Chapel, walking paths, flowers and memorials.
Every afternoon the bells toil as the flag is lowered and the cemetery becomes a very peaceful, meditative place to come. My sister lives close by so that she comes by often and walks her little dog, Bella.
After visiting the cemetery we headed back into town and stopped by a local Pizzeria where we were joined by by nephew Ryan and his Hog ;) It was good to sit for a bit and we all enjoyed the best Fish & Chips...yummy...I want more now ;) It was a short visit, but a memorable one, back to New Hampshire.
Which we started having second thoughts about...after our departing flight was canceled in Raleigh (after sitting for two hours in the plane on the tarmac)...and then realizing that we were actually flying on the 13th...oh yeah! Originally we were suppose to arrive in Manchester, NH by 1:30pm...but after several flight cancellations (due to the bad weather in NY and PA) we changed our final destination to Boston, MA where my sister picked us up and we drove directly to Dracut, MA for the wake. There was over 1,000 people who came to the wake to pay their respects to the family. It was scheduled to end at 8:00pm...which is when we finally got there! Not to worry though...because the line was still wrapped around the outside of the building and we didn't get in to see the family until 9:30pm...again...this was a testament to Dean's life!
Our last evening at my sister's house was a big slumber party...that was more slumber than party...we were all worn out from traveling as well as emotions. My nephew, Ryan, had to be up and out before 5:00am for his job and so we all said good night by 11:00pm. The rest of us needed to be up and on the road by 9:30 so that we could catch our flight in Manchester. We made our flight without any problems and we landed in Washington for a connecting flight...THEN we had ISSUES...LOL The ELECTRICITY was out in our terminal at the airport and for over two hours our flight was delayed. Oh well...not to worry...I had a book to read and DH was busy watching CELEBRITIES...LOL
THEN I looked up and when they walked him from the VIP area to his gate...I pulled out my camera and took some photos for the woman because she only had her cell phone and the photos were coming out blurry. SO I emailed the photos to her...too funny! This was the end to a very fast and eventful week, to say the least! I'm still very blue about losing Dean and I'm going to be taking a bloggigng break for a bit to just sit and feel my emotions and to get my head around it. Until then, my best to everyone.