After we spent hours and hours going through his belongings, we began to have the conversation on where we would have him buried, and this was one of the hardest decisions we had to make. None of us wanted to be the ones to make the decision, but it had to be made.
We wanted to respect his wishes, but we also wanted to keep other family members in mind. He wanted to be buried next to his wife, but that was on property that was owned by the cult. “Do we bury him in another cemetery? Do we take him back to Michigan?” All these questions were on our mind, and we had no idea what to do. Expenses were also an issue, and taking him back to his hometown would not be cheap; that was almost out of the question.
We eventually decided later that day, that we would have him buried next to his wife in the cemetery that was owned by Yisrayl Hawkins. This was far from an easy decision, but I guess you could say that my father didn’t leave us in an easy position to make the decision. Again, he probably left a note if he actually hung himself. And if he did, the House of Yahweh took it. It was most likely David Heimerman that took the note as well, since he was the “kahan” that was on the scene, and waited hours before he called Don Wordon and instructed him to call 911. And this might be why David won’t speak to anyone. We called the funeral home and told them where we would have him buried, and we scheduled 10am for the next day. By this time I had already been preparing the things to say over his body.
I knew this was going to be somewhat of a “redneck” funeral. It was inexpensive, and in fact, probably the cheapest it could be. We did have a granite tombstone made with his name on it. At this cemetery they generally have nothing, or just the name Hawkins printed in cement. For me, all these things are superficial, and they really don’t matter anyway. Even if he didn’t have a tombstone, I would know where he is. I made sure his body was centered in his grave and they lowered him into the ground. I also made sure it was me who picked him up in his casket, out of the coach. I wanted to be the one, and no one else. I also wanted to be the one to say the words. Perhaps I felt that I was the only one in the family that could muster a few of them up, but I certainly didn’t want anyone else talking about my father. I didn’t want any religious jargon. This wasn’t about any religious faith, this was simply about a family’s love for someone who they knew was a beautiful person.
In the House of Yahweh, they believe that when someone dies, they simply go to sleep, and will be awaken at one point during the resurrection. This is why they don’t have funerals or tombstones, and perhaps this is also why none of the people who were close to my father showed any signs of the ability to grieve. I wrote about my father’s burial in “A message of Love pt. 2” a few days after it happened. He was buried on the first of May, 2015.
Preparing myself to perform the ceremony proved to me that it was the most draining thing I’ve ever done in my live. I was the most exhausted I had ever been shortly after. But I knew I needed to do it. I knew I needed for this experience to be difficult and painful if I were to deal with it appropriately. And because I have, I’m able to sit calmly and write about it. With that being said, it certainly has changed me. How could this not?
After his funeral we continued with the logistical work of trying to get the electricity turned off, and trying to learn about his MRI results. The secretary of where he got the test done said it shouldn’t be a problem, but this seemed a bit odd to us. Despite our doubts, we were still desperate to learn of the results, and we were hoping that we would get some information. And to our expected dismay, we were left with no information, and that’s why this situation couldn’t be more frustrating. In any suicide people will say that there’s no closure. And that’s because we always feel like there’s something that we could have done, and something that we should have known about the other person. But in this situation, too many pieces to the puzzle are missing, and there’s only one group of people who would have the answers to that, but they’re not talking. “How on earth, do we get the authorities to investigate this further?” His family and friends wonder.