The Funeral

In the morning it felt like a ton of bricks were crushing my heart. I could barely get dressed dreading this day. I was yelling at my poor husband to hurry hurry and get going because I wanted this to be over.

That is how it started. And then when we arrived at the church I was still in a crying sad horrible grumpy dreading angry state which was weird. Why was I angry at the cantor who was just existing.

But then something happened. We had my niece play the violin as we walked down the aisle . The music was gorgeous and it lifted me up into another space,

My brother had to give the Eulogy and he did a great job and then it started getting good. the readings were good the music continued to be lovely and sweet and all the tears  were dried up and turned into joy. Joy for his life that we were blessed to be part of. Joy for all the family I had there and my friends who came and stood with us and the music was so beautiful that it  floated and we got to sing You are my Sunshine, to my Dad one last time  It rained and that was appropriate. We bonded like never before and then we went out to the burial site and it got even better. The formality and beauty of that service was so touching and sweet and wonderful that the day could not have  gotten better but it did and we ate and had a party together and truly celebrated his life and the day could not get better but it did .

A sweet  soul from my church came over with dinner that was so delicious and we shared it with everyone who came back again to the house and we all talked about how fortunate we were. Joy was abounding and forever.

WE all came through the dark path together and came out the other side better. We are better in every way.

now now now

tomorrow we are going to bury my Dad.

Nobody talks about grief because if make people uncomfortable and feel awful themselves and so we all avoid it.

Drink sleep clean work run get away from the pain.

I don’t want to avoid it because then if puts it off. YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH IT.

My poor brothers and sisters and Mom are swimming down this river with me.

Dad used to call me all day long for the last few years. He would say “Hey, how is it going, what is new?” I had to have things going on so I could answer that question with something interesting. Thank goodness for airbnb. he wanted to hear  all about he guests. He wanted to know what I was painting. what was growing. what my husband was doing. Every detail. If I didn’t call him for a few days he thought I was mad at him.

When I wrote his book we spent tons and tons of hours together talking about his feelings. Maybe he told me things nobody else knew. I was sort of his sounding board. I was his priest.

He couldn’t see anymore but his mind was sharp as a tack. Nothing slipped by him. He became an expert of reading your emotions from your voice.

Dad was a man who loved to be working so when his body failed to be very movable, I know he tried to live through his kids and wife. We became his hand and feet . Sometimes he would want us to help someone who did not want help. We did it anyway just to make him feel better.

I wish I did not have to see his body go into the ground Monday. I wish I could just put him in my pocket and haul him around .

sometimes you can talk to someone and still feel alone, but not him. You felt the opposite of alone. He was in your corner  My husband used to have long talks with him and Dad would give him advise and treat him like a son. Dad absorbed people  He really knew how to love

 

 

The Grapes

The grapes were abundant this year. Warmer than usual  weather afforded them the chance to burst   like a  balloon  with sweet juice. They hung down almost covering an equal area to the leaves. Some branches were 35 feet long. All full of grapes.

 

My Dad died just now, just now he left to go on to  his next stage of life. I thought of the grapes.

He was like the grapes this year. Long branches full of sweet fruit that is easy to eat. His life was about giving his best effort to give every fruit he had to give away.

We pruned the grapevine way back. All the remaining grapes got picked and squeezed into juice. The vines were spent. Time to start again.

Now I have to start all over without Dad. My Mom has to start all over without her husband of 65 years. We have been pruned of our most abundant vine and now must make juice of the remaining fruit. Lord, let that juice be sweet and let it nourish those after us.

I have done all these things but now I know

When someone is going through a hard stressful time, people don’t know what to do. They say things like they are praying for you or thinking of you or call me if you need anything. I have done all these things too because I did not know what is the most necessary thing.

Now I do know. My friends left me some flowers in my doorway. I came home after having a traumatic almost dying occurrence with my Dad . He was leaving and we were all around the bed crying and saying we loved him and it lasted for half and hour and he almost stopped breathing. Then he  asked for a piece of chocolate. So it goes on… the waiting. But it was an emotionally exhausting experience and I am glad we were all there but still it was tough. We came home to find flowers in the door and it felt like someone knew how this was going. Like I was not alone.

that is what people need in times of trial. to not be alone. You don’t have to say anything profound but just come over and stand next to the grieving . Do ask if there is anything to do because nobody wants to  bother you, just do something like send a note or make a sandwich  or a cup of tea. No words are necessary no questions are necessary. The only thing that helps is having our friends stand by us .

Now I know what to do when someone else is in this place.