Yesterday was Marcia's funeral with full police honors. All her female police officer friends were instructed to carry her remains from the police department to the church with a police processional...that's what she wanted. We lined up our cars in front of the police department and waited for our time to leave.
We had our police cars running, warming up, and Marcia's remains were in the lead car. We all started to freeze because we are in our dress blues with no coats, no long underwear...because we wanted to look sharp. So, we decided to go inside the corridor of the police department where the heater is and we started to talk about our memories of Marcia. Then, we all panicked at the same time...we had better get out there and guard our cars...what if someone stole Marcia? So, we took turns guarding the police cars. And then we all laughed...because if someone stole Marcia, she probably would have had a great ride and would have been saying...whoopie! Well, anyhoo, no one stole her, thank God!
So, just as all of us were in our line of cars with lights and activating sirens through town, we thought, what a sad day to say goodbye. It was cold, below zero weather, and snowing.The processional always chokes me up, especially when citizens salute on the sidewalks as you pass by. As I rounded the corner near the church, one of our senior officers raised his hand in a crisp salute. More tears. It is a great honor to do this for your fallen officer, let alone, a friend.
Tears are running down my face and then all of us started to laugh and the phones were ringing to each other...a call came out just before we got to the church. The sergeant said, "Did you hear that call? Marcia would have laughed." We all had heard it and thought the same thing.
"Units in the area of the Budweiser building...copy for two females tangled in a fence. They are covered in snow from rolling around in it and can't get out of the fence." The radio was silent, because the police processional was approaching the church, all officers were posted. No one wanted to take calls. We had a duty to Marcia. The deputies were covering the city calls. Then you hear an officer on the radio, "Dispatch, are they drunk or just stuck in the fence?" Then the dispatcher replies, "That would be a good assumption." A deputy got on the radio and volunteered to take the call. What a hoot!
So, we arrive at the church and take Marcia's remains to the altar. We then take up posts ushering people into their seats. I know it sounds crazy when people say, "It was a beautiful funeral," but it was. As people spoke about Marcia, I looked back at my own life. She led by example and had a strong faith in God and was not afraid to die. I am not afraid to die either, but I was examining my own life during the funeral. I had in no way conducted myself to her level and started to think how I wanted to be remembered. Looking at her kids, I felt for them. Marcia held the whole family together like glue and I know what it is like to lose a parent at that age. Marcia was just 52.
She was a U.S. Marine and a police officer, among owning two businesses and being a community pillar. Her kids were successful, and her husband was our retired Deputy Chief. Her life stories went on and on and words could not have been chosen better to describe her.
Then came the final songs for her. As I was singing, "Here I am, Lord", tears ran down my face as I sang the words. They were perfect and she, herself, had selected the song. I knew why. After the police and military honors were finished, the police radio rang out in the church, "Adam 165, Adam 165...Out of Service. Rest in Peace." Her flag was presented to her husband. Everyone started to tear up and "Taps" played as the funeral ended. As we exited the church, the sun was shining bright. We all smiled, because we knew Marcia was no longer in pain and she was in a better place.