Taps

What is it about Taps that evokes so much emotion when I hear it played on a bugle? You know me, I had to find out the history of Taps, and found interesting information on the West Point website here in case you want to know, too. And here’s another website with all of the information you could ever wish to know about Taps here. I didn’t realize Taps had words also:

Taps

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor,
God keep.
On the land or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night, Must thou go,
When the day, And the night
Need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day, And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well; Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise, For our days,
‘Neath the sun, Neath the stars,
‘Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.

The Honor Guard from Mattydale, NY honored my Dad at his burial yesterday by shooting their rifles and playing Taps. Afterwards, they presented my Mom with the nine empty gun shells. They wanted to fold the flag again for us, but Mom couldn’t handle that again since it was very emotional the first time.

And let me just say, yesterday was worse emotionally for all of us than his wake and memorial service. Maybe because reality is setting in, who knows. It all sucks. But at the same time, he is at peace, and I am happy for him. Rest well, my dearest Daddy.  Next thing you know, you’ll be seeing the family you left behind again.

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L to R, My Dad’s sister, My Dad’s father, My Dad. Taken at home in LaFayette, NY. I was just starting to scan in his Navy photos, and this is the only one I have so far (well, I have two others, but I wouldn’t show them in public). I need to Photoshop this photo, but I thought I’d share it with you anyway.

Now that we have closure, I feel I can start taking photos again. I told Mom, if Mother’s Day is nice we are going out in the woods! I got no argument from her! As we were driving to LaFayette yesterday I saw the trillium and cowslip aka marsh marigold in blossom in the woods and swamps. I so need to get out and see them up close!

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jayne
    May 06, 2007 @ 15:32:22

    I had no idea Taps had lyrics… how very moving Pam. Getting outside will be just the balm you and your mom need at this point. Something tells me that your dad will make sure you see a lifer or two. Hugs to you dear.

    Reply

  2. lizalee
    May 06, 2007 @ 18:09:37

    I can’t remember where I learned the words to Taps but it always fills me with sadness. Such a beautiful song though. I think a walk in the woods is a great idea for Mother’s Day! Nice to hear from you! Thinking of you.

    Reply

  3. Cathy
    May 06, 2007 @ 20:18:42

    There is nothing – nothing – more searing – more heart-breaking than the graveside. Only recently, I sat beside my mother-in-law’s open grave – beside her casket. The killdeer who had just returned were crying in the adjacent plowed fields. Robins we’re working the grass nearby. Knowing that this was the last time her family would be assembled around her – that she would not watch those fields turn green – was truly unbearable. But we go on – we do bear it. We go on.

    Go to the woods, dear. Let them fill you with Spring. Your father was beautiful – and may he ever be that young sailor in your heart.

    Reply

  4. Pam
    May 06, 2007 @ 21:01:48

    Jayne – I didn’t either until I saw it on the West Point website this morning. Getting outside will be good. I started taking photos again today of flowers. I need to practice again!

    Lizalee – me too. I don’t know why since it was originally a good night song, but now being used for funerals I guess is what makes it hauntingly sad.
    I can’t wait to get out in the woods! I’m thinking of you, too. I hope you enjoy your Mother’s Day!

    Cathy – I guess it makes it real when you see the casket hanging over the vault. I started bawling the minute I rounded the corner and saw his casket above ground. Way too heart breaking. Way too much to handle almost. You’ve described it well. My Dad loved the smell of freshly cut grass, loved to walk through the grass in bare feet, loved being outside, etc. etc. Somehow I’ll bear it, someway. I have so many good memories of my Dad, both young and old, that will help me through. Thanks, a walk in the woods will be great.

    Reply

  5. Mary
    May 06, 2007 @ 21:35:27

    Pam, you waited a long time for that closure. I understand your grief. My Mom passed on May 25 last year and wasn’t buried until a week later because of Memorial Day Weekend.

    The gravesite. I can still see those flowers and still hear he sobs and still see the faces of relatives I won’t see again for a long time. But it was a closure.

    And, Taps…it’s such a strong statement.

    Get out and take some pictures, for your Dad!

    Reply

  6. laurie
    May 06, 2007 @ 21:49:20

    I used to play taps at funerals, Pam, and I can assure you it is as heart-wrenching to play it as it is to hear it. Every time I played I cried. I cry now just thinking about you and your mom listening.

    You were missed, and you are loved.

    Reply

  7. susangetsnative
    May 06, 2007 @ 22:43:10

    Like Laurie, I also had to play Taps many times for funerals and Memorial Day services. And playing it feels like the song is pulling your heart through the horn you are playing.

    We miss you, Pam. Go out and get yourself some good bird and flower pics and share them with us! And give your Mom a hug from me!

    Reply

  8. Sandy
    May 07, 2007 @ 16:35:59

    Didn’t know that, either. Were your dad and his sister twins? They sure look a lot alike.
    Hope the new job is going smoothly. You have had a lot to handle in this last month.
    I am looking forward to seeing your trip photos, but I know what a bittersweet experience dealing with them will be.

    Reply

  9. Pam
    May 07, 2007 @ 17:29:30

    Mary – you said it – it was very hard. Wow, even waiting a week like you did for your Mom must have been very hard for you. The gravesite totally sucks to put it bluntly.
    I took photos of flowers yesterday!

    Laurie – OMG – how did you do that Laurie? You must be one strong lady.

    Susan – And you too! Another strong lady. Oh, good description about pulling your heart through the horn for sure. I feel like my heart is dangling outside my body by a thin thread. I’ll give my Mom a big hug for you next time I see her!

    Sandy – My Dad’s sister was older than him. I’ll post color photos sometime – my Dad had darker skin and dark hair, his sister, very fair skin and blond hair.
    My brothers can’t believe I worked, not only regular hours at the new job, but OT, too. It wasn’t easy. But now that it’s over with, I’m feeling my groove coming back.
    I’ll try to post some AZ photos this weekend.

    Reply

  10. Lynne from Hasty Brook
    May 07, 2007 @ 20:05:14

    My heart aches for you dear one. Because it was his wish to be cremated it was 10 days between the funeral mass for my Dad and his burial. The waiting time between was hard but like you, I found the burial to be agony. Several days after the burial I found myself feeling the tiniest bit of relief from the grief. Time and memories, family and friends, and prayer. These things got me throught the toughest of it.

    Reply

  11. mon@rch
    May 07, 2007 @ 21:09:07

    Pam, so sad and bring back so many memories from my fathers funeral. I am soo glad you were able to get this group to do Taps and honor your father.

    Reply

  12. Pam
    May 07, 2007 @ 21:23:22

    Thanks Lynne. It’s so hard to wait during that period of time, kind of like being in suspension. Last week was one of the worst weeks of my life. I actually yelled at some idiot at work last week, and I don’t normally give a crap what people do. I so don’t know why the burial was such agony. I felt relief today. I only worked 8 hours, went to the gym, and enjoyed the warm weather. It all felt good.

    Mon@rch – I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bring back memories of your Dad’s funeral. It was questionable for a while as you know, but the funeral director persisted in getting the Honor Guard to come – there were five of them. It was awesome, even though I was crying my eyes out.

    Reply

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