Monday, December 9, 2013

Dad

This post will be random. I have so many thoughts swirling around my head, sometimes its feels as though I'm losing my mind. I just want to write. and write.and write. So this may sound a bit like a drunk, blubbering, idiot, and I won't feel bad at all if everyone just needs to skip this post.
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I'm not exactly sure how to explain to someone who hasn't lost a parent what its like, but this sadness, it is like nothing I have ever experienced.  Right now I'm taking  in a lot of comfort in those around me who HAVE gone through this and tell me it DOES get better. I'm holding them to it!

Though my dad's death wasn't unexpected, I'm not really sure you are really EVER ready. We had prepared and talked about it many times. He had been on Hospice for 4 years. How many people can say that?

 I have heard stories about people on Hospice passing away, and how it takes the Hospice workers sometimes a long time to get to the house, because of distance. They are the ones who pronounce the death. I always thought how hard and creepy for the families that would be to have to sit with a body of someone they love,while waiting on appropriate people to arrive.  This is not the case.  That private time we had with my dad was precious, with him in his own bed, in his own house. A lot like that time right after you've had a new baby, and its just you and your husband, quietly counting fingers and toes, and the visitors haven't started pouring in yet, though instead of joy, you feel heartbreak, and trying so hard to memorize facial features. Even after he was pronounced, they didn't make us move him until we were ready.   I feel as though we were given a huge gift and think we are incredibly lucky.

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I found a funeral when you are distraught is a little like your wedding day. You know-- those things you hear about later that happened, but you don't remember them or had any clue they were going on.  That is a little what this has been like. I know there were people there,  I just don't remember seeing anyone as we walked to our seats, except my friend Lori standing and she was all I could think about getting to. I reached out my hand, and she didn't let go. It was like she was warmth and light, and I just needed to get to her.


My Dad was tucked in with a blanket that I made. There is a story to it.  It was suppose to be my dad's Christmas present, and it hadn't been started yet. I had never made a blanket before and had thought I had PLENTY of time to take my time. The day he died I decided there was no way I was looking at that fabric, that I had OBSESSED over, getting JUST the RIGHT combo for HIM, and just throwing it away or just keep moving it around forever.  So, I made a goal to start and finish it and bury him with it. With in that blanket are lots and lots of tears and prayers, and a few frantic curse words. My aunt gave me the worlds fastest "how to do binding" instructions, and I'm pretty sure everyone honestly had thought I had surely lost my mind. I gave me something to obsess and think about.  But I'm glad I did it.

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My Uncles had to drive to a neighboring town to their motel to change clothes for the service. And my uncle got a speeding ticket. 84 in a 65. That folks, is a $210.00 ticket.  Is it wrong we laughed and laughed about it? The people in the fellowship hall who didn't know this story surely had to think we had lost our minds.  But I'm pretty sure there was some "Heyyyy!! Watch THIS, guys!!" going on up there in Heaven!!!! Oh..and the Kansas Highway patrol officer who issued the ticket?? He was coming TO Dad's funeral when the ticket was issued. It was hysterical, and very appropriate for the occasion. My dad would have just HE-HAWED over this, and slapped the back of that officer, while never stopping giving my uncle a hard time.

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Speaking of the boys in blue, my dad was a police officer or involved with the sheriffs office  for 31 years, and was a sheriff in our little town from 1996 to 1998, when he resigned for health reasons.  He loved his work, and had requested to be buried in his uniform.  In fact, he had taken his clothes to our local funeral home 3 years ago, for safe keeping and so they would be ready. At the family meeting at the funeral home, it was brought out, and I very carefully inspected it. And my heart broke and I smiled huge...all at the same time!!..when I discovered he had stuck a PEN in the breast POCKET of his uniform shirt.

My cousin, Jesse, is a local law enforcement officer. He was very involved with my dads life, and he can immediately came when my mom called him Tuesday. I tell him he has broad shoulders, becuase he has carried my entire family this past week.  I realized at the family meeting at the funeral home, that he had a black band over his badge...signifying the death of a officer.  Tuesday, everywhere I looked I would see these black bands...even on our local fish and game officer.  And as stepped out to walk out to our seats, there was an entire section of blue in that church. And as they carried Dad out, those beautiful men were lined up, saluting.

As we went down the road that would take us to the cemetery, we were greeted with this sight. And again, I cried so hard I thought I was going to die.

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This would be a salute from our local fire department. What you CAN'T see is how COLD it was, and how they stood so still, when they had to have been freezing. I was honored they would do this for my dad. They had done a flag ceremony, and done a Last Call at the church, but this was harder for me.

At the graveside, the honor guard did the 21 gun salute and TAPS was played. Remember how I said it was cold? I discovered around the time the preacher started to speak, that I could not tell if I was shaking because I was upset, or because of the cold. I just remember Danny suddenly put his arms around, and how thankful I was for his arms and warmth and I thought I couldn't  possibly stand up a minute longer.


I am tired of crying. My friend Melanie had told me that its possible to cry tears straight out your nose. She was right. Its also possible to run out of tears. Like you go through the motions of crying and ARE crying, but your eyes just can't keep up with your sadness, and just seem to give up for awhile.

I'm tired of not sleeping, and when I do sleep, I'm tired of my dreams. They are very vivid and bizarre and always wake me up. And I'm tired of waking up crying. Every stinking morning.

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This feels a little like Christmas morning. You know the feeling: You've worked so hard for a month and have worked so hard and wrapped those package...and then you stand in the middle of the living room with all the mess of wrapping paper, and think wow--thats it?? Now what?

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The MORAL of our story...is this: It does not matter HOW they leave. When they are gone..there are no words to describe it. Even if you've had years and years, and many a conversations about this day. Nothing can describe it.

My dad taught me so much. More than I could ever sit here and write about. But what he did teach me most about was living. About fighting.  About dignity.  He always wanted to do things his way. And he did.

Until his very last second.







4 comments:

ragtime4361 said...

Losing a parent is SO rough! Regardless of the age of that parent, the loss takes such a chunk of heart with them. There is now a hole in our hearts that will never again be filled. With every new memory in your new normal, the heart makes room for the new in coming memory, but it always keeps that missing piece of your life as a gaping hole.
You say you are tired of tears. Yes, those tears will slow, & one day, you will truly make a whole day without a tear. But, i will tell you that when you least expect them, tears will spring from your eyes, caused by a trigger in daily life. It may be something as simple as reaching for the phone with the intention of sharing a funny moment of your day with your dad, & suddenly realizing that the phone call won't allow you to hear his voice. And the triggers will catch you so unprepared. So let it happen.
My mother went to heaven 7 years ago, & I can occassionally make a whole day without a tear . Hugs for you as you grieve in your own way. Love you.

Rhonda said...

Becky, thanks so much for sharing this, I have had tears, but just from appreciating what you're sharing, and knowing what you're talking about. I've been through so many family funerals it isn't even funny. I know what you mean about things being a blur, you know you were there, but I know in my case I just can't remember much in the way of details. But the outpouring of love from others in so many ways makes an impression on you that you don't forget. I was thinking of all of you especially on Saturday, just praying for you all to come through that day somehow. Now even though I had a lot of tears as I read this, I LAUGHED about the speeding ticket incident! LOL!!!! How appropriate! LOVE YOU, and take care. Thanks again for sharing. Your love for your dad comes through, and I LOVE that you made that blanket. :)

Megan said...

Thank you for writing this! My tears fall for you as I'm reading this. I cannot imagine the hole that you must feel, but please know that there are so many of us who will do anything you need for us to...all you have to do is ask.

Melanie said...

From where I sat in my parked car waiting for the procession to the funeral to start, I could see those volunteer firemen standing just as they were in your photo!! That was just sweet. .and thoughtful. .and respecting!! A wonderful tribute to your dad!! I do NOT believe that people in heaven can see everything going on down here on the earth. .but on Saturday. .I just wondered. .Do you suppose that God ever allows one of his children in heaven to see. .something specific that He knows would make them smile?? Like a wedding. .or a birth. .or men standing along side the street for an hour in 16 degree cold in your honor?? I can't wait to get there someday to find out for myself!! Hang in there!