Friend’s funeral adds meaning to holidays
What makes this time of year so special is its message of light and life. It includes the Christian and Jewish celebrations of Christmas and Hanukkah, as well as spiritually significant days for Muslims, Buddhists and others. For all, whether grounded in a religious faith or not, it is a time for giving of ourselves.
I was reflecting upon this very recently during the funeral of a police officer I used to work with, Orchard Park Lt. Bruce Dearborn. Bruce finally succumbed to the cancer he was stricken with a number of years ago, devastating his wife, three young children and other family and friends. I was privy to the many texts and emails that circulated among active and retired officers from our department. In addition to the search for things they could do to honor him and support his family, the pain, grief and sense of powerlessness, which began days in advance of his passing, was palpable.
As I and many officers sat there at his funeral during this season of life, communing in our shared pain, it struck me that Bruce had not only given of himself to our community for many years, but had obviously done so for all those present, including his sister and brother police officers. In that moment of deep darkness, the persona of being tough that society imposed on us was shown to be an illusion. Our own humanity burst forth like a light – another gift of Bruce’s life.
This year I’ll be especially thankful for the gift of family, friends and so many others who are and have been a gift for me. They’ve given undying light and life to who I am as a human being.
Orchard Park Town Board member and assistant chief of police (retired)