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Joe's Wake - A Bit Long


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The wake was held for my husband last evening for friends and family, with a period of prayer for just family this morning.

People often display photos of those departed during a wake. I just couldn't select a sampling. So the funeral home put together two slide shows of a total of 187 pictures for me. I had the casket closed, as I wanted my husband remembered the way he was in life, always laughing, singing, dancing.

Many passages were read this morning from Joe's favorite saint, St. Paul. Some I selected on my own, others were prepared by the funeral home.

After the morning prayer, the funeral home knew I intended to visit a nearby park/marina to do a butterfly release. They read the following poem at the funeral home:

"The butterfly emerges

from its silken shell-

Reborn it arises,

no longer bound to the earth.

Free at last, the butterfly glides

to heights unknown before.

So do our loved ones find

a beautiful release

as, earthbound no more,

they leave our sight and joyfully rise

to a garden of matchless beauty,

a place of light and peace."

When we arrived at the park/marina, I played the song "Butterfly" by Mariah Carey. I read the following words:

"The Greek word psyche means both butterfly and soul. The amazing process of change from a caterpillar to a butterfly has captivated many ancient cultures that believed this was similar to the process of a soul's journey from an earthly body to a heavenly body and immortality.

The Irish view butterflies as the souls of the dead waiting for passage through purgatory.

The Slavic people will leave a door or window open at a person’s death so it can leave the body as a butterfly.

The Native Americans believed that butterflies were messengers to God.

Others believe the butterfly represents the resurrection, life after death.

So today I release these butterflies as a symbol of freeing Joe from his pain so that he may continue his peaceful journey home to his Heavenly Father".

After the release of the Monarchs, we each set asail his favorite colored flowers into the water and said good-bye.

My husband was such a dear, special man. I can only hope that my tribute to him was one that would have made him proud.

As hard as these last two days have been, I know that this is the easy part. Facing the days ahead will be far more difficult. I still awaken in a fright very often, looking to make sure that he is okay. Then I remember that he is gone. Right now I still feel like I'm in some kind of coma, like none of this is real. Maybe I'll wake up and he'll still be here.

Right now I can't imagine ever going on from here. But unfortunately I know that others here have walked this path before me. I read your posts and draw on your strength to get through. I just never imagined being a widow at 38 years old. I guess it will just take me some time to adjust to this new reality.

Thank you, as always, for letting me ramble.

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What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful person. Yes, he would be very proud of you and your thoughtful tribute to his life. Yes, the days ahead will be rough.... But we'll be here when you need us. Prayers for peace. Ellie

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Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful tribute with us. I've never heard of a butterfly release. I can visualize you all standing there -- how absolutely beautiful, and with the flowers as well. I have no doubt your tribute made your hubby ever so proud.

Just allow yourself to go through these initial days in whatever way you need to. (Being in a coma is a perfect description -- sort of a walking coma.) If you need to stay busy, stay busy. If you need to go to bed, go to bed. There's no wrong or right way. The only specific advice I would give is to allow people in -- people that you trust and know care about you.

I've heard people say things like, "it's different when someone is ill, because you know it's coming." "Different" than a sudden accident, yes. But the shock and trauma of the actual loss is just as sudden and blunt.

Contact me any time. Thinking of you and praying for you...


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How nice to get to know you guys as Nanci and Joe. I only wish we all could have known each other before ~ in better times. The eervice sounds so awesome and quite spiritual......seems just like something Joe would be so moved by. Let me say again how very sorry I am. Please let us hold you up in the coming days. We are here for you 24/7.


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My thoughts and Prayers for You and the whole Family.

Yes It does suck. Widower at 41 here Now I am 43.

Life does Go on. See above

Does it get better?? EEEEH??!?!?!

Does the pain go away?? Not really.

REmember the ones we love are always right over us watching and waiting and protecting us. THis is a new normal. One that is not very pleasant much like the one we encountered upon diagnosis of Lung Cancer. But we soldier on in memory of thoe we LOVE..

Words may not mean much but whenever you need a shoulder to cry on or an ear to talk at we are here. pretty close to 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

Prayers and Thoughts again for everyone.

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What a touching tribute that reflects the strength and depth of the love you and he share. I know Joe must be so proud of how you celebrated his life and grateful to have had you for a soulmate. I will keep you in my prayers.



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Nanci, That was absoultely beautiful from the wake to the park. I love the releasing of the butterflies. I went to a wedding where they did the same thing and it is something that will stay in my memories foreger.

How fitting to do this for him. Joe was so proud of you! You did good sweetie, your tribute brought tears to my eyes.

I feel so helpless that I can't do anything to help through this. Please know how much I care and I am always here if you need me.

I hope you have relatives and freinds to lean on for support as you desparately need it.

Sending prayers to you for strength.


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I just wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. I know well the coma you are talking about, and I pray that God bring you strength and peace in the days ahead.

Your service sounds like it was absolutely beautiful. Joe would have been honored and truly touched by such a loving tribute. I loved the butterfly release, the symbolism and ideology behind it is amazing. My husband and I did a butterfly release at our wedding in the tradition of the Native Americans, with the idea that butterflies are messengers carrying the well wishes and prayers of our guests to heaven. After that, butterflies became a special thing between my husband and I. In fact during one of his treatments where he was in isolation for 10 days, I went and had a butterfly tattooed on my ankle. And in tribute to him, I did another butterfly release on the 1 year anniversary of his passing in the hopes that my message of love would reach him in heaven on those soft wings.

I know that your message of love reached Joe too, on the wings of those butterflies.

It seems we unfortunately have a lot in common. I was widowed too at 36 (37 now, will be 38 in 2 weeks).

If you ever wish to talk, please send me an e-mail or PM, and I'll send you my number.

Take care, and lean on others for help. I am so sorry you are going through this nightmare.

God Bless you

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