Well a good night's sleep really helps. The memorial service went very well. I said, or tried, to say a few things about Bill but couldn't get through dry eyed. As usual I came off as kind of goofy. Nina was much better than I was. But I will let her talk about that if she wants to. We wanted a celebration of Bill's life and spirit, and it was. We held it at his retirement home, since this is where his true friends were. The room was covered in huge bouquets of flowers. There must have been 100 people there and half were residents of the retirement home. One of Bill's friends sang "Amazing Grace". It was one of the most beautiful and moving renditions I've ever heard. Several of Bill's friends spoke about him and what he meant to them. But each one stopped early for emotion in the room was strong and the event was close to all of us. Nina and I made the right choice to celebrate Bill's life in his home, and not with some sterile outline at a Kingdom Hall full of hypocritical, mean-spirited bigots.
As for my best friend, I called him a few hours later Friday evening and told him that he was not welcome at the memorial service. Everyone here at JWD had a part in that phone call because after reading what all of you wrote, it gave me the courage to tell him that. It is tough to do that when you're so close to someone. However, after the service I found out that he had called a JW who was going to attend and told her to bring some brochures on death and pass them around. Fortunately Nina greeted her at the door and took them from her. I told her to trash them immediately. A celebration of Bill's life is not the time or place to be book salesmen, or to listen to a JW infomercial. This is a rift between us that I don't know if I even want to repair.
When I made my original post, I was so angry I think I made a poor description of the events. So let me take just a moment to clarify a couple of points. Everyone, except our children, knew Bill committed suicide. In fact my best friend was at our house just a few hours after we met with the police, and we told him the gruesome details of how Bill shot himself (apparently in Texas there is no waiting period for purchasing a gun). My best friend, who is an elder, had no problems at first with our plans for Bill's service. But then gradually he began to try to assert some JW propaganda into the proceedings. Late Friday afternoon, he told us one of his objections was the song "Amazing Grace" which he labeled as "a religous song from Babylon the Great". He told us he would not say anything, even though he looked on Bill as a second father, unless that song was removed. When we refused he said we would have to put the song at the end of the proceedings then he would say the propaganda and leave so as not to be polluted with such an evil song. He did not even want to be in the building when this song was song.
Thank you to everyone here. You don't know how much your support has meant to Nina and I.
Love to you all,