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.
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 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.
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.
So my Dad went home to die and we are all looking at him with expectation of who knows what and it is real now, before it was a dream but now it is real and I have to write this way because I have to gets it all down. before I forget and life is sleep walking again
When you know your Dad has a week or so left to live everything comes crystal clear, Little things are important,
Saturday is SATURDAY in caps and it is a real day that is full of looking at every minute. Saturday is important. noon is important , three is important. 5:14 is important. We are alive and we still are all here and alive. I look at my sister and I can see all the years we had growing up together all the days we were given with Dad and all the days we had knowing each other. Pretty mundane stuff unless it is almost done, then it is amazing spectacular gifts from God that we are now aware of. No more just another day thing. No more just another week, disposable and ordinary and commonplace and ignorable. No now the seconds are fireworks connected to infinity and we are seeing them and being aware of them together and she is not just my sister but my universe that is going through this thing, this mourning with me. We are together and Dad is still here for a bit. Wake up everyone, this is not forever on earth we only have a few seconds before we die and then we are not with any home. You dang better have a relationship with God or you are in so much trouble. You better tell everyone you were gifted with that you love them more each day so much that you could burst.
My Dad is leaving the earth and I am so glad I knew him and he married Mom and had me and the rest of the family. How rich of a life come from that union. I look at his body that goes on in another place not just gone and that is it no you go on so you better know Who is looking at you next. He better recognize you and say welcome home.. You don’t want to be alone forever . We need to not be alone forever.
As my Dad goes into the next life , as we all are here a few more moments then it will be our turn to leave this world. May we have a Friend who says Welcome home good and faithful servant. May it be so for you and my Dad and everyone else reading this. May it be so.