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Friday, March 4, 2011

Good-bye Dad

Today was Dad's funeral. I think I was more present or maybe just more practiced. When you do two in just a couple of weeks, it is easy to remember the routine. All of my grief seems to be still at the cerebral level. When I remember or miss something about Mom or Dad, I cry. Other times, I'm not thinking about them and everything seems okay. I know it is just a matter of time before that deep level grief hits. The kind that weighs down your chest and makes you feel like your body is being physically attacked. Or maybe it won't happen. Maybe all of these prayers are keeping that soul wrenching pain at bay and I can just begin to heal. I know many people are lifting all of our family members up to the Father. I spoke today at Dad's funeral. Something I regret not doing at Mom's. I could have talked all day but there never would have been enough words. Below is basically what I said. 

Dad seemed to always have a song on his mind. He didn’t always know all the words but that was okay he’d just hum the parts he didn’t know. You’d always know because he’d be singing along and then so do, do, do or some variation of that. Whenever we would go on long trips, Mom and Dad would sit in the front and sing. Dad had a deep, rumbly voice and Mom had a clear, higher one. They would encourage all of us to sing along but if we didn’t want to, they would sing duets (usually funny ones).   I can’t remember all the words to a lot of them now but that’s okay because I know how to hum too. 

Everyday, when he  came home from work, Mom was usually in the kitchen and before he did anything else, he would walk up to her and say, “Hey good-looking,” and give her a kiss. I rolled my eyes at this but knew it meant everything was all-right. Well, except for those days when I knew she had something to tell him which would get me in trouble.

When we were little, we used to have this game, where after Dad would come home, we would say, “play rough, Dad, play rough,” and he would growl and run off and hide somewhere in the house. My sister and I would clutch each other and creep through the house waiting for him to jump out. When he did, we would scream and he would tickle us. As an adult, I think about how tired he must have been some days coming home, ready to go for his run but I don’t remember him ever saying, “I don’t feel like that today.”

We had an easy time when we were little, the wheelbarrow rides, the wrestling around, tossing us high in the air. It got harder when we were older but there were still ping-pong games, and teaching us about cars, and all throughout life always pointing us to God.

When I was a teenager, I remember sitting in his lap, crying about some boy who broke my heart. Dad patted on me and said, “The only hands I trust you in besides mine are God’s.” That is who he always trusted. He would tell stories about how God worked in his life.

Mom and Dad weren’t perfect but I do believe they always did the best they knew how to do. They loved us through all our mistakes. Dad and Mom demonstrated unconditional love to us in a way that allowed me to understand how God can still love us no matter where we’ve been or what we have done. I hope to pass that on to my children. I want to add, that even though Mom and Dad both got sick at the end of their lives, the greatest testament to them will be if every time you think about the loss, you point to God because they always did. 

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