A fun morning of fishing and building memories at Calumet Park Cemetery on Saturday, June 10, 2017. A nice gathering of families reeled in some pretty good sized fish and enjoyed snacks during the annual event. Thanks for those who attended and thanks to those who supervised to ensure that all would be safe and entertained. Join us next year for this free day of fishing and catch and release. For information, call Calumet Park at 219-769-8803.
For over 10,000 days, I have held the title of father. For me, every day is Father’s Day. My girls and my wife fill my heart and soul with love for each day that I am blessed to share with them. I have tried many things in my life, and succeeded in some and failed in others. But in my quest to be a good father, I have succeeded far more times than I have failed.
I say this because I have two adult, well adjusted, loving daughters who became that way because of their Mother and me. We had no guide book on how to parent, although I read a lot of parenting books over the years that never quite gave answers or procedures for unique moments that presented themselves on a regular basis. There is such a thing as book smart but real life events quite often force a parent into being street-smart on the run. There is not always time to consult with what all the professionals have to say about challenges faced as a parent.
A simple example might be a toddler falling and scraping a knee. Their crying gets our attention, soap water and bandages treat the physical wound, but it is the hugs and kisses that takes away their fear and pain. All of us with the title of parent understand this. It did not take Dr. Spock to tell us that a boo-boo needs a kiss.
I believe, and I can only speak for myself, being there in the moment goes a long way to being a good parent. Being there with patience and willingness to apologize to a child when we are not successful in being patient…being there to listen…being there to guide and to protect and be a home base that kids can return to…all part of good parenting. I had to learn that my girls (and my wife) are not always looking for answers. Men seem to think that we have to solve a problem, check it off an imaginary list, and be ready for the next time superman is needed. Sometimes we just have to shut up and listen. Very hard for me as I am like an action figure…give me a problem and we will fix it, eliminate it, go around it or through it but I need to act.
I remember being schooled by both of my girls over the years when I show up with the proverbial hammer and saw cause “the fix-it man is in the house” when they would let me know that they did not need a “Tool Time With Tim” dad right then. What they needed was an understanding male figure who could listen, nod his head up and down, right and left, but mostly to shut up…open my heart, and try to feel their pain or fear. Going to a new school, or breaking up with a boy friend, or getting a cold shoulder from their BFF’s…they only wanted to think it through, out loud, to a dad, and then get the hug and kiss for their emotional boo-boo’s.
Megan and Colleen taught me to be a good father. There was never a question of the love part of it. The first time I held each in my arms I knew. The smell of a freshly diapered and powdered baby (or even a poopy one for that matter) made my chest swell with pride and unconditional joy. Looking at their little round faces and their big blue eyes was like looking in the eyes of God. No man could ever “make a baby”. No woman could ever will themselves into motherhood. The power of God took all those eager little swimmers and created Megan, and Colleen and me as a Dad and Teri as a Mom. And we loved it.
We have loved every blessed minute of being a parent, and continue to enjoy the high of the two wonderful kids that blessed our home. So, Happy Father’s Day to me. I may get the greeting cards that utter the sentiments of some Hallmark wordsmith signed by my Meg and my Colleen, but a simple look into the blue eyes of my babies from heaven and I know that it is my day on June 18th, and on every day that I am allowed to share with my girls.
So, that is a bit of my story. It is my sincere wish that every father out there realizes the wonder that has been given to them when their children were born. To you all, I wish a very Happy Father’s Day. written by Daniel Moran
You are invited to Saturday’s fishing event at Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville, Indiana. This is an annual catch and release program for kids 12 and under and must be with an adult. Calumet Park will provide bate and snacks. Come on out on June 10 and build some memories with your kids. All you need is a fishing pole and a desire to share some quality free time with those little ones in your life. Call 769-8803 for info or directions. It is from 11:00 to 1:00 so bring the kids, suntan lotion and a comfortable chair and join in on the fun.
Thank you to all who came out to show their respect for all of our veterans, and especially for those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Giving one’s life for a just cause is going above and beyond the call of duty…giving your life for freedom is heavenly. A special thanks goes out to the owner’s of Calumet Park (yes, privately owned and proud of it), all the grounds crew, the family service department and to the administrative departments. It took a team effort to make Calumet Park Cemetery look so beautiful and a great deal of planning and execution for the weekend to go so smoothly. We received nothing but compliments from the thousands who entered these hallowed gates during the past three days. God gave us a weekend of wonderful weather, and your showing up made it a successful weekend of remembering.
There are men and women from these great United States serving in the armed forces today who will need to be remembered for having given up their lives when this holiday rolls around again this weekend. And sadly, as long as there are evil, crazy, power-hungry people habiting the planet, soldiers will die. How many of our fine young men and women have to be killed before peace can truly erupt around the world?
There was a song out when I was young entitled “Where have all the flowers gone?” by the Kingston Trio. It had a very repetitive beat played beneath a poem that I only now realize was probably meant to be that way as the story is the same today as it was when it first hit the charts.
Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Gone to young girls, every one!
When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?
The next verse changed to young men, then soldiers, then graveyards until the graveyards went back to flowers…”and the beat goes on, and the beat goes on” sang Sonny and Cher. Vietnam, the Middle East and hopefully never… but looking scarier and scarier…Korea.
In cemeteries across the nation flowers will be planted and placed next to flags on the graves of so many innocent and lost souls. I believe the fallen soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and women and reserves who gave their all are all in heaven as they gave their last breath for our freedom. That is a wonderful thought, and one day we will meet again.
However, in the middle of the night, when a parent or spouse or son or daughter finds they cannot sleep over their loss, heaven is far away. They need strength now…today…tonight, when they are alone with their thoughts. All the hopes and dreams and plans and fun, the tears and laughter that can no longer be shared with their guy or gal who died bleeding red, white and blue, they are the truly forgotten ones.
So, in this small space on the internet, I offer my prayers and the prayers of so many for all who have been left behind. God is good and all-knowing and always present which means some of our prayer energy needs to be offered for understanding and faith. I pray that a child can move though life with one parent gone forever, while a piece of the remaining parent does their best to do their best in all things. A wife or husband who hugged their honey goodbye and finds they will never be together again lives a pain that others who did not suffer such a loss will never know.
So, God…in Jesus name, I pray that you will give strength to those who are truly vested in Memorial Day. I pray that you will shelter them with your love. I pray that you will help them in their most alone moments as they live in but a shadow of their “coupled” life. I pray that you help them through this life, and that you accept their pain as their penance and forgive them if they may turn from you a little. I pray, God that you let them remember all the great times with their lost loves, and to cherish the little moments that brought them together in the first place. Thank you God, for the beauty that you will bless them with in the days ahead, and let their remaining time here on earth be lived in honor of their fallen soldier. Finally, I pray that you help mankind find a way to discontinue adding to the rolls of those we salute on Memorial Day. Amen
Come to our free fireworks show on next Saturday night at around 7:00 (May 27) at Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville. Call 769-8803 for directions and visit our webside for more info at calumetparkcemetery.com
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers. It is one of the most thankless jobs and at the same time, most rewarding. Being a Mother is one of God’s most loving gifts to the universe. Dads…while special in their own way…Mothers are the glue that holds all of life together. Call or visit your Mom today and let her know how much she means to you. For many, their Moms are already in heaven. Offer a prayer of thanks that you were lucky enough to have her as your Mom. Enjoy this sunny day and praise the Lord for Mother’s everywhere.
The men and women that you see at the entrances to Calumet Park Cemetery on Mothe’rs Day are passing out flowers and a newsletter with the Memorial Weekend activities. If you are looking for something to do on May 27, bring the family out for a fun evening of free fireworks, hayrides, and horse and buggy rides. Bring a blanket to sit on or a comfortable beach chair. You will have a fun evening. Starts at sevenish.
I was finishing up a hot, salted pretzel with melted cheese at Subway recently. My wife was doing some shopping at Walmart, and I was along for the ride. But the salted, baked dough drew me away from the sock isle, so God bless the little things in life. That is when he came in. And that is when I learned a little about prejudging people without knowing anything about them except how they look.
As I dipped my last piece of pretzel in the cheese, a man came into the Subway space. His hair was not so long as it was frazzled…windblown in a not so attractive way. His beard appeared to be a blotchy three day growth and his mustache was long and drooping over his mouth. He had on a camouflage shirt and sweat pants with no-name gym shoes on. If I had to guess his age, he might have been anywhere between 60 to 70 years old.
In an instant, he pulled a chair right up to the counter and sat down right in front of the register. He stared at the teenage girl working the counter that evening for what was to me an uncomfortable amount of time. The first thing that came to my mind was “What the….?” As in many trips to Walmart, I felt I was going to see something that I never saw before so I cupped my ear to better hear where this was going, if and when he should speak. I was seated about 10 feet from the action and was ready to rescue the girl if things went bad.
Of course, with my own aged knees, it would have taken me some time to leap into action, but that is another story. Sixty-eight year old legs do not respond quickly to messages from the brain. It was then that he bent down, pulled up his left pant leg, and removed his artificial limb. He rubbed the stump for a minute or two, then put the leg (from the knee down) back on, returned his pant leg back into place, stood up, and pulled a note from his pocket.
I was embarrassed by my quick reaction that trouble just sat down. He spoke softly, slowly, and almost bashfully as he placed his order for four foot-longs. Reading from the note, he completed his order. I was into the moment by this time, and I approached him. Politely I told him I saw that he lost a limb, and asked if he would mind sharing what happened to him. Keep in mind that I have never gone up to a stranger and asked such personal questions before, but I was drawn to this man.
His answer hit me in the gut. I am sure that my face got red as my own emotions regarding his answer brought up some long suppressed memories of my own. “Lost it in Viet Nam,” he answered simply. Just then the teen rang up his order and asked how he wanted to pay for it. I told her that I would get it which opened up a small debate between myself and the stranger. I said it was the least I could do as he paid so much on the battlefield. I won the argument as I told him that I spent a couple of tours in Nam myself. He was a marine and we joked about who needed who the most…the marines needing the Special Forces or vice versa.
After we talked about when, and where and the why’s of how we spent our time so many years ago in a jungle on the other side of the world, I found out that he was my age, was a “region rat”, now lived in Vegas and liked to come back to NW Indiana once a year to go fishing and visit with old friends. I thanked him for his service and he turned and started to walk away. I sat back down and finished my cold drink, lost in thought.
It was shortly after that I felt someone standing beside me on my blind side. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see this walking-wounded veteran looking down at me. I no longer saw the mismatched clothes, or the straggly hair or the answer to my “what the?” from minutes before. I saw clarity in his eyes and a smile. His hand was outstretched waiting for a traditional handshake. I extended my hand and he spoke softly, slowly and clearly.
“Thanks for the sandwiches. It has been 45 years since I got home and you are the first person who has ever done anything like this for me. Just wanted you to know that meeting you was special.” I could barely hold back my own tears and mumbled “no problem, sir” as we both felt a little weird, but in a good way. He turned and walked away, and I spotted my wife at the checkout counter. She asked who was the guy I was talking with since she knows I am not a talk-to-strangers kind of person.
So, what is the point, Dan? The point is that Memorial Weekend will soon be upon us. The point is not a stranger buying a stranger a sandwich. The point is that there are so many walking wounded men and women that cross all of our paths every day who wore the uniform of the U.S. armed forces. Much of their pain and injuries are mental. It is easy to see a man’s artificial limb in one hand while massaging a stump of a leg with the other and think, “Oh, let me buy him a sandwich”. What about all the survivors who have been in all the wars we have been involved in that walk around each day struggling to just maintain. There are ghosts that fill the dreams of so many, ghosts of horrors that few can ever comprehend unless you too walked in their shoes.
Memorial Weekend is a time to honor these people. To realize and appreciate the sacrifices that they and their families made to keep us safe and free. Whether one’s leg is torn away in a firefight in the jungles of Vietnam, or a soul is twisted and crushed from man’s inhumanity to man during times of combat in the Mideast, men and women come home from war changed. They need love and patience and understanding and space. They need to be acknowledged, even if only on Veteran’s Day or Memorial Weekend. It is in the power of every person that reads this story to buy a sandwich for a vet, or cut the grass for an old timer who helped to secure your rights as a U.S. citizen…and say thanks.
Nobody who has seen the things our military has seen, or been called upon to do the things that they are called upon to do should ever sit alone and wonder what it was all for. Oh, we will be embarrassed when you say thanks for your service…we will not want you to buy us lunch…we will try to refuse your help even though it may truly be needed. Extend yourself, and appreciate those brave men and women who have given so much. A good place to start is visiting Calumet Park cemetery over Memorial Weekend. Find time to share an hour of your life in showing you care. The official Memorial Day Service at Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville will be May 28 at 1:00 p.m. Invite your friends and take the opportunity to show you care.
Call 219-769-8803 for information on prearranging for your cemetery and funeral needs
It may sound strange to celebrate the life of a loved one that just died. Yet, think of the last funeral you attended and what much of your conversation was about. You shared memories of the good times with that person, and the good things about that person that helped to create the good times. Grief will come. There will be plenty of time to grieve. But for the moments when you gathered to say goodbye to the person who passed and hello to so many others that you had not seen for so long, a celebration of a life that was lived helps with the healing process.
To have a fitting, respectful and beautiful goodbye is part of the reason that we carry on the ritual of the funeral. At Calumet Park Funeral Chapels in Merrillville and Hobart, and Rendina Funeral Home in Gary, the services of a Certified Funeral Celebrant are available for families who are charged with the duties of final arrangements. Calumet Park’s Celebrant is a funeral director with special training to help produce a final goodbye that leaves a warm place in the hearts of those who cared enough to attend the funeral of your loved one.
What is a Celebrant? A Celebrant is a person who is trained and certified to meet the needs of families during their time of loss. A Celebrant serves by providing a funeral service that is personalized to reflect the personality and life-style of the deceased. A Celebrant offers an alternative to a service provided by a clergy person for those families who are not affiliated with a church or who do not wish to have a traditional religious funeral service.
A Celebrant has been specifically trained to design a service that is completely personal. They incorporate those unique stories, songs and experiences that defined the loved one. A Celebrant will schedule a special family time for the family to share memories, anecdotes, and special moments in the loved one’s life. The essence of the service will be based upon the remembrances of the family.
A Celebrant has a library of resources available for readings, music, ceremonies and personal touches. The Celebrant will consult with the family to help design a service that best reflects and memorializes the life of their loved one.
A Celebrant is bound by a code of ethics for complete confidentiality in all dealings with the family. He or she will provide a special unique committal service at the cemetery with balloon releases, dove releases, special music, friends and families leaving special notes on the loved one’s casket, and much more.
Kim Jones, funeral director and manager of all three funeral homes, is a Certified Celebrant. She will sit down with the entire family and let the family share stories and reminisce about their loved one. During this time, which can last an hour or two, she will listen carefully and ask questions to gain a better understanding of your loved one during your grieving process.
Everyone grieves differently and it is healthy to express your feelings, tell stories and remember the beauty that was your loved one. According to Doug Manning of IN-SIGHT BOOKS, INC., “Your loved one are never gone if you keep their memories alive.” A Certified Celebrant is trained to seek and provide the most comprehensive and sensitive training available for people wishing to develop their knowledge and skills of this profession of funeral directing. It is important that a family knows they are being served by someone who understands the process and is prepared to offer the very best and most personal funeral possible.
Call Kim at 219-736-5840 for more information regarding Certified Funeral Celebrants. Find out if including a Celebrant as part of your funeral is right for you.