Yesterday we had Jim’s Memorial Service at Nelsen Funeral Home on Strawberry Plains Road in Williamsburg, Virginia.
I went in early to set up the room with some small momentos, Jim’s 18″x24″ picture with the Thomas Campbell quote, and the centerpiece that I had made. The folks at Nelsen Funeral Home were amazing. They saw me drive up and start unpacking the car on the tarmac and two of the the ladies in the office came out to help me bring the things in and by the time my sisters and brother-in-law got there a few minutes later to help, there were only a couple things left to bring in.
The folks at Nelsen’s took the audio CDs and the DVD for the pictures on the screen and started the music and pictures right away. That was an awesome backdrop to put all the things together. They were right there but unobtrusively. They read my mind on so many things. They already had a table cloth on the main table in the front, they brought the two little round tables up on either side of the main table for the two sets of momentos that I had brought. It was all perfect. They also found several easels for us to try on the 18″x24″ picture of Jim till we found the best one that would not tip over since it was a big picture. All of the pieces were lovingly placed. My sisters, Debbie and Susan (Snookie) helped me arrange things to best accent it all on the tables. As we were finishing up the decorating up front, the folks from Nelsen’s said that some flowers just arrived and a gorgeous basket of flowers arrived from our long time friends, Don and Mary Knowlton in Georgia.
Then I got the video streaming at ustream (Jim’s Ustream Channel for the Memorial) going in what I called the “Pregame Warmup” so we could test it, and also moved in close to let the folks who were too far away to be here physically the individual pieces in the Memorial setting on the tables. Thankfully, after that session, Adam Ross suggested I mute the speakers on the laptop so we didn’t have auditory and feedback issues later during the actual Memorial. Jim would have laughed with me that I didn’t think of that myself, but I think my mind was a bit overloaded. So I thank you so much Adam for reminding me about that. Of course, both the Pregame warmup and the Memorial Service itself are online for at least the next 30 days. I hope I can figure out some way to download the videos to keep for posterity since I do not think I can pay $19.99/mo forever to keep them up on ustream.tv.
In addition, I have uploaded the Memorial 12/18/2014 photo album depicting the main table and the two small round side tables and what is on each table:
After that, we (my sisters and my brother-in-law and me) went to one of my all time favorite oriental restaurants in the Williamsburg area, one that has been around for a long time, the Peking Chinese Restaurant in the K-Mart shopping center. They have a great buffet. This trip to the restaurant had a dual purpose; to quickly eat lunch, and so my brother-in-law Dana could query me on a few things in addition to reading the entries here on Jim’s Memorial blog so he would have all he needed for when he did the Eulogy at the funeral. This is almost always best done in person and since we live nearly 5 hours away from each other, they came early so he could do that in person. While we talked, we ate lunch and got back to Nelsen’s about 1:40pm and there were already several folks there which was awesome!
Between those that came physically to the Memorial Service and those that came via IRC (Internet Relay Chat) chat from a couple different servers and channels, and watching the video stream, the chapel was full indeed. I am sure Jim was gratified to see all the folks that took the time from their busy schedules to give him a good send off locally and online.
The order of the Memorial Service:
- Musical Interlude
- Reception of Family
- Welcome, Scripture Reading and Prayer by Pastor Dana Cook
Scripture: Psalms 23
- Eulogy given by Pastor Dana Cook
- Pastor Dana Cook to invite any who wish to say a few words about James Lee Radcliffe and what he meant to them
- Prayer and Final thoughts by Pastor Dana Cook
- Conclusion of Service
Pastor Dana Cook then stepped up to the podium to begin the service. He welcomed everyone. He read the scripture and prayed. He then went on to do a great job and brought not only serious thoughts of love and remembrance to the forefront, but he also brought some levity to the service as Jim would have wanted. Dana went back to look up things that happened or were common things like the the $.23/gal for gasoline in 1956 when Jim was born, and only $.29-.30/gal in 1971 when Jim moved from Massillon, Ohio to Williamsburg, VA 15 years later. Also because of Jim’s electronics and music leanings, he talked about happenings in 1956 and 1971 in the tech and music world at those times. He talked about Jim and his wonderful outlook on life, he talked of our families, friends, and all the lives he touched over the years. Pastor Cook also talked about Jim’s love of music and he had previously asked if we had a song, and I said no, we had many songs, but the one song we were so fond of together was “She and I” by Alabama. He read the words to the song and gave loving commentary about our lives and noted at the end that this truly was a story of our lives together and how evident it was that Jim truly loved me.
That feeling was and still is of course mutual. I find it hard to live without Jim, but with God’s help and the help of all our family and friends as Pastor Dana said, a way just might be made to live on even in the face of such a devastating loss.
When Pastor Dana Cook invited folks to come up if they had a few words they would like to say about Jim, the first person that spoke up to say they wished to speak was Ian Chase from Virginia Beach, VA. Ian has been a great friend for a couple years at least, first on Scot’s Newsletter Forum, and then in IRC (Internet Relay Chat) in our CNI Radio chat channel since he started listening to our JimmyLee and Bambi Show on CNIRadio.com. Ian told me afterwards that he wanted to speak for all of the friends far and wide that could not be here, but some of which will be watching today and/or chatting in IRC, or would come after to watch the Memorial because they were working or otherwise unable to view it live. Ian did a wonderful job doing exactly what he set out to do for all our seemingly ‘faceless’ friends that we may or may not have met in person but still share our daily lives as well as those that we have met over the years via our travels but were still too far away to make it for the Memorial today in Virginia, and of course those physically with us today at Jim’s Memorial.
Then Pastor Cook asked my sisters; his wife, Debbie Cook, and another of my sisters that could attend, Susan (Snookie) Crittenden to come up and talk individually about Jim and what he meant to them, and then my brother, JC (Jonathan C Bunker) to come up to do the same. They all had some great things to say about Jim and what he meant to them and to our family in general. They talked about our Dad’s funeral in 2005, and the things Jim did to help ease our minds and hearts during the devastating time of losing a beloved parent. This is something Jim knew very well as he had lost his beloved Mom (Marie Radcliffe) in 1984. All three talked about Jim and his music and his love for everything having to do with music; the songs, the musicians, the instruments, you name it.
Pastor Cook then asked me to come up and read Paul Star’s email. I hope I did OK with that. It was so hard to even speak at all with tears and loss choking my throat. But Paul’s email was very important and spoke to several areas of Jim’s life in music and electronics. I was honored to read it.
Pastor Dana Cook then came back to speak a bit more and did another scripture reading from Revelation that speaks about end times and the fact that we will not all sleep in this world and that the dead will rise and we will all be together with our Lord Jesus. I know some of you do not believe but these are things of comfort to my heart this day.
After the Pastor released us, everyone came to the back to pass on their condolences. So many came from our family and friends, old friends and new, and some who are my clients and have come to be friends over time as well.
Later when things are not so painful, I will write about the miracles of friends and what they did to make all this possible today. Well, I couldn’t wait that long. I posted about it here.
Until then, I thank all who came to the Memorial Service to honor Jim and support me during this time. You gave me such a much needed bolstering so I could deal with this terrible loss. Thank you all.
I also want to thank everyone at Nelsen Funeral Home. The amazing service you provided was such a balm to my heart. You were like a part of the family that day, and I will not forget it, and I thank you for everything you all did to make this time easier and less stressful. I thank you all as well.
God bless all who were able to be here, all who were able to be in chat, and/or watching via ustream.tv, and those who will watch later because of work or other situations or obligations that prevented you from being here yesterday in person or during the live streaming. I know you were still here in spirit and I thank you all for that. I will hold these things deep in my heart and ponder them often.
Some post notes: The day after Jim passed away, I went to the hospital morgue to see Jim and to ask them to see if they could remove Jim’s wedding band as I wanted it for a keepsake. On my way to the morgue we passed a wall of floor to ceiling windows and the clouds were just beautiful that day and all of a sudden, there was a cloud bow right outside the window! There was a cloud formation that was in the shape of a phoenix bird with head tall and to the side so you could see the beak and the wings spread as if in flight and the tail fanned out, and at the heart of the bird was a fist shaped cloud bow! I showed it to the Administrative Nurse that was taking me to the morgue and I said, wow, that looks like a sign and she agreed. A beautiful vibrantly colored fist shaped cloud bow. I wish I could have gotten outside to get a picture of that. But I do have it in my heart to remember. Yesterday as we were leaving the building and heading to our cars at Nelsen Funeral Home, I looked to the right in the sky and noted the sun there and how beautiful the clouds were again this day like the day after Jim’s passing, and then, I saw another cloud bow! Not as sharply and vibrantly colored as the one from the day after Jim passed away, and this one was more flame shaped with yellow to the left and a reddish orange on the right side, but it was again a cloud bow! I showed the photo I took to my sisters and brother in law later that day by sending it in TXT Msg, because this time I got a picture of it! How often do you see a Cloud Bow*? I have not seen that many in my life to account for seeing one Dec 4th and another on Dec. 18th during special times regarding my Jim’s passing and Memorial.
* When I showed the picture to a friend, she said it was a sundog. So, whether it was a sundog or a cloudbow, I was happy to be able to share that story with you all.
Below find that picture from my Flickr account:
Rainbow Symbolism – What is the meaning of a Rainbow? Rainbows speak directly to our heart and soul, filling us with awe and energies of liquid love pouring all around us. Rainbows bring the promise that the troubles of today will surely come to pass, hold strong in your faith and vision and the rainbow will bring fresh beginnings, and new prosperity.
Be sure to click through and read the poem called, Rainbow Bridge. Awesome.
There will be more pictures as I get the pictures from my sister’s SLR camera to share with everyone. I will create a new photo album just for the memorial service.
NOTE: This is a posting in process, you may want to come back later or tomorrow or a week from now to view any changes made to it.