Sunday, January 15, 2017

On a Bright, Clear Winter's Day, a Final Farewell to My Stepfather SSG Raymond William Titus (b. May 8, 1947 - d. January 5, 2017)

Brilliant mid-winter sunshine as seen from the inside of the funeral limousine en route to Maryland Veterans Cemetery in Crownsville while passing through Millersville, Md., 12:57PM January 13, 2017.

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This is a somewhat shorter entry than I intended. I'm at my mom's place in Millersville with my stepsister Debbie -- two days after Ray's funeral -- just spending a quiet familial weekend in the wake of Ray's funeral and during such a sad time.


The wreath of flowers from the "Truckin4Troops" organization that Ray was so happy to help.

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Having said that, we are having a pleasant enough time here, especially given the circumstances. We went to the cemetery earlier this Saturday and then stopped at a coffee shop in Millersville (the Bean Rush Cafe). Actually, it's kind of nice to just be here in this little, comfortable place (although my mom doesn't want to remain here for the long-term).

Flowers from Ray's funeral on the table this morning, Millersville, Md., 1:38PM January 14, 2017.

Of note, my employer sent some flowers to the funeral as well.

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The funeral was difficult -- but made much easier by all the people who showed up (at least 50) and paid their respects. Also, the folks at the church including Pastor Larry Smith -- Grace of God Fellowship here n Millersville -- really were tremendous, and I really appreciate that.

This is the first of five videos that were taken by long-time family friend Lola at the military funeral service at Maryland Veterans Cemetery in Crownsville, Md., January 13, 2017.

Lola is an awesome person.

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It's not a church I go to or would go to (well, being a fallen Catholic, I don't really "do" any non-Catholic churches or, for that matter, Catholic churches). However, what this church and its pastor did for my mom was wonderful in such a difficult time (especially Pastor Larry on the night Ray died).

Video 2 of 5.

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Chester came to the funeral and I really appreciated that. Later, he and I took a walk on the B&A trail in Severna Park and then went to Adam's Grille. Chester came back here later for almost two hours. I am really happy that he was there yesterday. Also, my dad down in Florida called and I called him back and we talked for a bit.

Video 3 of 5.

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I had intended to post more but it's already 10:20PM as I start this and we are just watching TV -- reruns of "Sanford & Son" (there is a weekend marathon on "TV One") and HGTV, including an episode of "Property Brothers." Earlier, we had a nice dinner at home. As I said, it has just been pleasant -- or maybe therapeutic -- staying here. I've also had a fair amount to eat and drink (courtesy Northway Liquors)

Video 4 of 5.

Of note, while at the cemetery, I saw two eagles circling high overhead (maybe 200 feet up) in the deep blue sky fleeced with cirrus mares' tails. And I could have sworn they had white heads -- that is, were bald eagles.

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Also, I nixed going to my company's post-holiday annual awards banquet tonight (in Tysons) and stayed here. Instead, I'm heading back to D.C. tomorrow but I've decided to come here again next week -- ideally, on Friday, except that is the day of the inauguration and at the start of a protest-filled weekend, so I may come here on Thursday night. I really don't feel like being in D.C. next weekend. As for the upcoming workweek, I have some things I need to do including for work.

Video 5 of 5.

This includes where my mom is presented with the folded up American flag.

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Given everything, my blogging is going to be uncertain and likely a bit thin this upcoming week. Indeed, things aren't likely to get back to normal until the week of Jan. 23rd.

Debbie and my mom at Maryland Veterans Cemetery, Crownsville, Md., 3:31PM January 14, 2017.

I'm really glad the weather was decent for the funeral on Friday. As for today (Saturday), was cold and wet and muddy out there today.

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Today was a cold, showery day with temps just above freezing. The three of us went to the Maryland Veterans Cemetery in Crownsville and found where Ray is being buried. We went there for the formal military honors yesterday but we were not at the gravesite.

Debbie saying goodbye to her father, January 13, 2017.

(Yes, I asked both Debbie and my mom if it was OK to post this picture.)

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I do want to repost this from the prayer card for Ray's funeral:

In Loving Memory of Raymond W. Titus

Thursday, May 8, 1947
Thursday, January 5, 2017

God saw you getting tired,
and a cure was not to be.
So He put his arms around you
and whispered, "Come with Me."
With tearful eyes we watched you suffer,
and saw you fade away.

Although we loved you dearly,
we could not make you stay.
A golden heart stopped beating,
hard working hands at rest.

God broke our hearts to prove to us,
He only takes the best.

--Author Unknown

Of note, I should mention that the prayer card had as its front picture a stylized picture of two bald eagles see above for relevant connection) flying over a jagged snowcapped mountain whose rocky striations and crowning snow field are suggestive of an American flag’s stripes and stars, respectively.

Ray watching an old Western TV show ("Wagon Train"?, "Laramie"?, "Bonanza"? No idea), January 4, 2017.

This is the last picture of Ray before he passed away the next day.

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At ease, soldier. You made it home.

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--Regulus

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