Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Funeral Stuff

Arrangements for my dad have been made. We're having the visitation on Wednesday night and the funeral on Thursday morning. Our funeral director is the same woman who handled my mom's funeral. She's pretty amazing. We asked her what she thought the cause of my dad's death might have been. Based on some physical signs, she was thinking a very quick, very massive heart attack. We'll never know for sure, but everyone who was involved, paramedics, etc. said that it appeared he died quickly without a struggle as he was still seated in the chair. Thank god for that.
Today, I was alone up at my dad's house and went into a cleaning frenzy, which turned into a raking and weeding frenzy. I had to stay in a frenzy because every time I stopped for a moment, I completely lost my mind with grief. When I couldn't clean, weed or rake any more, I sat in the glider on the back patio. It didn't take me long to realize that I was looking at the last view that my dad had of this world. The bridal wreath spirea is an explosion of white, the poppies are blooming in profusion, the spiderworts are starting to bloom. There was a very gentle wind moving the poppies around. In just a few minutes, I saw a robin, a crow and an eastern goldfinch and heard the songs of a few other birds. It was lovely. I am so sad that he is gone, but I'm happy that it happened in the home he and my mom built, surrounded by a beautiful day and beautiful sights and sounds.
I went back to the funeral home today by myself to spend some time with my dad alone. I really, really needed that. It helped calm me down a bit. I've been rushing around, working, talking to people and needed to just get grounded in the reality of this. My dad looked great for a dead guy, for which I was glad. I held his hand and said some things I've been meaning to say and found some peace.
One of the things I have to work on is a family eulogy of sorts. I wrote one when my mom died and volunteered to do one for my dad. This one is going to be harder. For a guy who worked hard and lived simply, my dad was a complex character. He got the best qualities from his mother and learned to do the opposite of much of the bad behavior his father modeled for him. (Sometime, I'll have to tell you about my grandfather, who was not the kindest person. He used to frequently tell my aunt that he wished he had drown her at birth. A real charmer.) He could be hard, stubborn and impossible and in the next moment you could see his softness through his humor and jovial nature. *sigh* Shit. I could be describing myself here. Better stop while I'm ahead.

6 comments:

Scott J. said...

Ah, Michael... I know what it's like to lose a father, and have so many memories and conflicting feelings about him.

I think that all we can do is honor the good things we learned from our parents and try to make the world a better place with our own instincts.

You are a wonderful person. I think your Dad knew that, in his soul.

Mnmom said...

Thinking of you all the time - I love you!!

Mnmom said...

I remember cleaning out my parents' house. I'd be fine, in a frenzy like you say, then I'd find some little something and just fall to pieces. I still do when I open my dad's briefcase - it just smells like my Daddy.

Cry every tear Michael, they are all important.

FranIAm said...

Here via mnmom - I am very sorry for your loss. The post below this one about my dad is beautiful.

Please know that another blogger, although a stranger wishes you and your family healing, consolation and peace.

Mnmom said...

It's Thursday, and I'm sending so much love and peace down to Decorah for your whole family. You know I understand. Funerals are like cutting open a wound - it hurts so damn bad but is essential for healing.

Melinda June said...

really wish I could have been there for you, MG. You're in my thoughts and prayers, honey.