Today was the first time I ever walked into a funeral to see an open bar. I was searching for the showing of Dr. David R. Decatur (more affectionately known as Doc) but accidentally entered the wrong room. But make no mistake–this was part of Doc’s funeral as well. A quick scan of the room showed old colleagues and familiar faces enjoying drinks along with appetizers from an extensive buffet. And within an instant I immediately felt the joy and celebration taking place despite being at a funeral.
It was the perfect reflection of Doc. He lived life to the absolute fullest. “Work hard, play harder,” is what Doc used to say. A colleague quickly filled me in that Doc left very specific requests for his funeral, and an open bar with a party-like atmosphere was one of them. This brought a chuckle from deep within, and I wasn’t the only one. It’s not often you look around the room while a showing takes place to see so much laughter. But Doc brought so much life and happiness everywhere he went, and the laughter shared in the room was mere evidence of the legacy he leaves behind.
Once I made my way to the room where Doc rested, the mood was closer to what you’d expect at a showing. Every where you looked where photos and certifications achieved by Doc throughout the years. I even found some pieces that I had designed for him during my very first marketing job at Decatur Vein Clinic. As my very first boss, Doc will always have a unique spot in my heart. I remember one conversation in particular as Doc asked how I was adopting to my new job. I turned the tables by asking Doc about his very own first job. With a sparkle in his eye, he shared with me his humble background and how he came to find the desire to do something more with his life. Based on the long list of accomplishments in his obituary, I’d say he surpassed his goal.
Even though I’d made my way into the more somber room, I couldn’t help but crack a smile as I saw the creative ways his loved ones left a mark at his funeral. I saw an arrangement made in an old-fashioned medical bag, featuring bottles of Doc’s line of supplements within the flowers. Near his casket, I found this larger-than-life Budweiser bottle made from carnations, courtesy of his great friend Steve Hilbert. Anyone who knew Doc well quickly discovered his love for cracking open a Bud–though he always shared. And another top love of his was the Indianapolis Colts, so it was natural to find a Colts icon made from flowers on the other side of his casket, sent by the Colts team.
All these things made me smile more than I ever have at a funeral. And that’s exactly how Doc would have wanted it. I have nothing but warm and delightful memories of him, and I’m glad my very last ones didn’t fail to deliver the same. I pray he rests knowing what joy he’s left behind.