Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Ode to....Continued #3

I woke up in the morning late…some time around 9:00 I think and I threw on a pair of shorts and an old t-shirt. My laptop was sitting on my chair so I fired it up and sent an IM to a couple of people at work. Sitting around waiting for the visitation didn’t seem to make much sense so did a little work. I had one of my guys do a test I needed done and chatted a little about some things that were going on.

We have a bunch of Easter stuff that we brought up and put away some winter things like snowmen and some nice throw blankets that sit on the back of the couch doing nothing but looking seasonal. I really didn’t feel like putting some of this stuff away but I eventually gave into the requests of my wife and took them down stairs until next year.

Eventually, I got out of my chair. It is my chair and I have asked people to move to another seat if they sit in it. I needed my chair today. I wasted time in it trying to put off getting ready as long as I could. Procrastinating is something that I can do well when I want to and I waited as long as I could before dressing in my suit and tie.

I realized about 20 minutes before we had to leave that I have gained way to much weight because there was no way I could wear my suit pants. My enlarged stomach impeded my ability to button my pants. Luckily I found a pair of pants that would work just fine and I finished getting ready for the visitation.

The kids were fighting a little as we prepared to leave and I tried my best to let it go. There are times, many times, when my children drive me crazy with their almost constant griping and today was no exception. I think they realized quickly that I wasn’t in the mood because they stopped on their own without a tirade by me. Things were going well.

Everything was in place at the funeral home. The flowers from friends and work places looked beautiful and I took time to read each of the cards from everyone. We gave Speedy E the job of writing down who sent what so that she could be involved. She really enjoys doing things like making lists and we wanted her to feel special. I didn’t really take any time to be with my dad other than a quick moment with my son and daughter. Instead, we all talked quietly while we waited for people to show up.

My step-brother and sister were two of the first to arrive. I expected Mike to show up because he still lived close and would still drop in on my dad from time to time. I’ve only seen him five or six times in the thirteen years since my step-mother passed away. As for my step-sister, she has been away for a long time. She had an affair on her ex-husband and gave custody of her kids to her him. She asked my father if she could move in with him while she tried to get back on her feet and he said no. I guess he didn’t like what she stood for. I truly think the only reason she came up from St. Louis is because she wants to know what she has coming to her. I hope this isn’t the case but she hadn’t talked to my dad since he turned her down.

People came and went. Friends of mine, friends of my sister, friends of my dad and people from the old neighborhood came in an endless barrage of “I’m sorry” and “How long was he ill?” They are the standard comments we all make when we try to comfort others. I tried to mix up my answers to help control my own sanity as I heard the same thing over and over. I know they all mean well and I appreciate everyone that came by to help us and to show my father their respects.

My best man spent an hour or so hanging out with me and my family. He was lucky to be there based of a snowmobile accident a couple of years ago that almost killed him. He hit a tree at about 70 miles per hour and woke up a few weeks later without the ability to talk and with a skull fracture that would kill most of us. He still has troubles to this day but I am thankful he is alive and could be there for me.

A few neighbor ladies from my childhood showed up. All of them have lost their husbands in the last ten years. I can now empathize with them in some ways but I don’t truly understand all of what they feel with their loss. One of them asked me to come by with the family sometime if I’m driving through the town I grew up in. None of her kids live near her so I’m sure the seven years without her husband bothers her from time to time. I told her I would try to stop by but in reality it was probably just lip service. I have been down my old childhood street maybe ten times in the last twenty years. But I will knock on the door if I am in the neighborhood.

We had a nice surprise when all of my dad’s brothers and sisters showed up. They live a ways away and didn’t think they would show up until the funeral. The last time they had all been together was when my grandfather died twenty years ago. The bickering that ensued after his death split the family for years. I have my opinions on the stupidity of it all but things like death seem to put those misunderstanding aside.

After four hours of standing on my feet, talking to so many people I finally had a chance to sit down. My back hurt and my feet ached but my heart seemed to be at ease. Remembering the good times with old friends and learning new and wonderful things about my dad from people I have never met brought a piece to my mind. Yes he will be missed by many people but I realize that the tears that flowed that day were from others. And that I was actually there to comfort them and not them to comfort me. I never really looked at it that way but I think there is some truth in that statement. They come to be with us and our grief and we tell them thank you for coming. But in two days he is a nice memory for them and we are left to deal with the loss for however long it takes to let it go.

Before I left, I took a moment to look down at my father. The man who help cast the person I am today. Looking down at a face that really doesn’t look like him with all the make-up and embalming fluid, I saw the man that everyone else saw. A man who would help others in need and not expect anything in return. A man who often put the needs of other in front of his. I didn’t cry as I stood there remembering him. I smiled as I turned and walked away.


lj said...

i'm sorry for your loss.

Instant Tragedy said...

Be strong.

I am here if you need me!


PokahDave said...

Sorry for your loss PE.

Mr Subliminal said...

My condolences.