Thursday, November 7, 2013

So sad...

Our house in August, when we closed on it.
Exactly two months later (almost to the day).

The good side: the whole family that lived here did make it out alive. They are a Christian family and had many kids, both adopted and natural. It was a big family. I could not believe that many people could live in that house! Sadly though, their two dogs did not survive, but died of smoke inhalation.

On my selfish side: I spent 18 years of my life here. I was longer in this house than any house I have ever lived in. That is saying a lot, because I am old! Continuing on my selfish side, a lot (I mean a lot) of money was spent making it the best house. It was almost perfect for us, everything was the way we wanted it.

But God redeems, and the family will eventually have a whole new home. It will serve them for many years (probably more than 18 years!) They will also have new cars, clothes, appliances, furnace, wiring, and maybe actual bedrooms for the kids and dry walls instead of plaster! Life will be good, because God is good.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Is a body in a casket really "creepy"?

I have to confess, it is a bit strange. I have always been a bit behind the times, but have never had the nerve to touch a body in a casket. I'd like to think it is because I have not had many opportunities. Either I was not close enough to the person or family, or there was no body. It seems like cremation is the way a lot of people are doing things these days. There is nothing wrong with cremation; in fact that is what I want.

I see this body/death thing as two parts. Part one is the viewing, part two is the internment.

Starting with part one - while the word “creepy” is used when viewing a body, it does give closure. I think it would have been more strange to not see my dad, then to see him. Did I have to be sure he was gone? Did I want to critique his looks? I don’t really know why, but I am glad I did.

I was fortunate enough to be able to see his body without anyone around (except for my very patient and supportive husband), and I am convinced it was a good thing for me. However, I think I just stared for the longest time at him. It was like I was in a trance. I stared so long; I could have sworn that I saw his chest move. The logical side of my brain tells me I didn’t, and dad taught me to listen to that side, so I did. Since there was no one around, I even got up my nerve and touched him. I was struck by how cold and hard he felt. I am not sure why…what the heck did I expect? (See there is the logical side again! Thanks, dad.) His hair was still soft, and he still had his bushy eyebrows.

On to part two - I totally get the cremation part. When I think all the land that is used for cemeteries. These are places that in a few years no one visits again, it seems sad and wasteful. You can walk in woods and run across a cemetery that no one visits possibly because no one knows it is there. That is until you try to do something with that land.

A lot of today’s cemeteries’ are beautiful places to visit. They go as far as to call themselves arboretums. And it can be very pleasant to be there, but really, do you go for the beauty or for the body? The person isn’t there. And I surely do not get (feel free to explain it to me) why a sealed, cement box, buried six feet underground. Are we trying to save the body for something? Are we protecing the earth? I just don’t get it why we do this.

Facts are facts, he is gone, I saw him gone, and whatever happens to his body now is irrelevant. That is how I feel about my passing too. I will be with my maker, and my physical body is totally useless. To me, that is a pleasant thought.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Today is the day of interment

Dad always had his emotions under control. Yesterday's funeral was a test of that lesson he gave me. Sad to say, I didn't pass the test.

It is very hard to say good bye to a man who has had more influence on my life than I even realize. I know others have gone through this, and mine is really no different in the grand scheme of things. In some ways, my loss is easier than some. My dad had 84 years on this earth. A lot of people can't say that.

One another note. Two years ago we had a five generation straight blood line. Within two years, two of those generations are gone. Not sure where that thought came from.

Funerals are strange. The thought of looking at a body just seems so odd. But it certainly does give closure. Three days of this seemed excessive at first. On the other hand, I can be here for the whole process, and somehow that brings comfort to me. I know what happened to his body, I know where it will be now.

I do believe that Jesus met him last Friday morning, and dad said 'yes' and went with Him. I believe that he has been re-united with his mom, and dad. I believe that he is at a place of peace. I believe that he is happy now.

Peace is the one word that I think happens when you die. At least I hope it is.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Today is my dad’s funeral

This is a strange day; it is my 14th wedding anniversary, and my dad’s funeral. Of course that makes me think about when he walked my down the aisle to the most wonderful man who waiting for me. Waiting for me!! It is still unbelievable, but that is another story. Dad was always my rock, and now this wonderful man would take over that role for me.

When I think about my dad, I don’t know where to begin. What do you say about someone who has given you life, been in your life for over 61 years and taught me the wisdom of life. There are really no words, but I try anyway. I guess it is just my way. I saw a quote that says “A dad is a boy’s first hero, and a girl’s first love.” I don’t know about the boy’s part, but it is true for this girl.

Today I am scared, sad, and relieved. He was always a healthy guy, and said he would live to be 500 years old. He said if they could back in the bible days, then with the technology progressing as fast as it does, it should be able to happen today. Sadly, he missed the mark on that one. I am relieved because he was not healthy. His biggest fear was losing control, and lately he no control over anything. That had to be a nightmare for him.

It is strange to think that my siblings and I are about to be the oldest generation in our family. To be without parents just seems strange, and unnatural. I know it isn’t, it is part of life. My wonderful husband has been without parents for nine years now. He was the youngest of four, and I am the oldest of four. I wonder if that makes a difference.

Today I prepare for the final good bye to the man who literally shaped my entire life, maybe tomorrow I write more.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Dad died today

Why is it still a shock? I knew it was coming. I almost wanted it to come because he wasn't getting better, and I knew he would hate living like this. The night before I was told he was not eating, not even his favorite, chocolate Glucerma! I think he was living on that stuff for the past month. He is also not getting out of bed, sleeping a lot, and his mind was starting to show steps backward. But it is still a shock. What a strange feeling.

What is it like to not have a dad? To know that I soon will be the oldest member of our family, is another strange feeling. I am still thinking of the days in Detroit, playing in the lot next door. I always had parents, a mom and dad, the way it is supposed to be. I know I was fortunate in that way. How do you get along without a dad?

But this was the guy who was going to break the mold and live forever. He was always either healthy, or in denial of any health concerns. However, he was confident he would outlive everyone, because he always thought he was different than everyone.

My life seems to be in slow motion today. Still at work, I do better keeping busy. Besides, what can I do today? He is 12 hours away, and no final plans have been made. My desk is usually a flurry of emails, calls, people stopping asking questions. Today it is quiet, but then again it is Friday.

Lots of phone calls between my siblings and mom. Seems like we have been saying "I love you" to each other more than we probably ever have. Another strange feeling. Not saying it, just hearing it so much, Does death draw you closer to each other? How long does that closeness last?

Anyone I do see has to give me a hug. What is up with that? Why a hug? Because they don't know what else to do to show their compassion? I guess I would be doing the same thing, roles reversed. Afterall, it is socially accepted at times like these. And somehow, from certain people, it does invoke a sense of comfort, strange as that seems. The strange part is that is from people I would not have expected to feel comfort from, because I am not that close to them. Is this because they are an actual conduit of God? Am I feeling this comfort because it is coming directly from Him in these cases?

You sure learn a lot about yourself when someone close to you dies. I mean, heck, look at this, I am journaling! I hardly ever do this!

It is also interesting to hear comments that people say. Sometimes someone says something that just makes a head tilt. I was reminded that I probably gave him one of his best days since his stroke, the day Ed, MK and I actually got him out of the house and car shopping. It was a difficult task, and something in me actually enjoyed doing it. Another strange revelation. It was also brought to my attention that he died 4 month, to the day, after his stroke, now why does that matter?

This is all a dream, right? Not for real, right?