After the funeral

My dad

This past Saturday was my dad’s funeral, just two days ago and I’ve been processing everything since. The funeral was very nice and the Pastor did a far better job than I expected, but he’d met my dad a few times in the past. The anecdotes about my dad were spot on and helped make a tearful day into a celebration of his life. After the funeral, we all went back to my mom’s house, ate, and talked the night away.

When I say I’m still processing things, I mean that I am still trying to find a way to express what I’m feeling, thinking, and how deeply my dad’s passing has affected me. That’s why I have been writing here in my blog about everything, I cannot just let it all out, but I can type it out a bit better. I suppose due to the act of typing itself, it is a step removed from just speaking about it, which I still cannot do.

I delivered a eulogy at the funeral and it was painful, I fought against a deluge of tears, but my sons lost that battle. My eldest Adrian was curled up away from everyone crying uncontrollably and Gabe sat curled in his chair in the middle of everyone. My wife fought back tears and my Uncle Bill couldn’t even speak during the funeral, which was understandable as he lived with my mom and dad.

I feel numb still, in shock, almost lost. While at mom’s house I kept waiting for my dad to just walk into the house like he did when we’d all visit him and he had dialysis. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced, and I’d experienced a lot of death in my time on this planet. So many people were there because everyone loved my dad, he was the type of person that if you knew him, you loved him… period. 

Everyone was telling stories and memories of him at my mom’s house, people smiled, laughed, and cried. My kids played games and talked with my two uncles who helped raise me, which dad would have loved and gotten in on. I honestly think if dad saw his funeral, he would have been happy at how it was all handled. That unto itself gives me some solace.

Closer to the end of the night, my uncle Bill and mom gave me dad’s cross he loved and wore and it’s something I will forever cherish. I cried once I was home because it was so beautiful of them to give me it and to have something to keep dad close to me. 

After the funeral, I’ve been thinking of ways to continue to honor my dad’s memory, to keep him alive within all of us and I know he was proud of the changes I’d made and who I’ve become, so I want to continue onward and forward with that. He was kind and gentle and thus I will strive to be kinder and gentler myself, but he was also very funny and well I already have that down 🙂

This all has been overwhelming to me and I couldn’t begin to fathom what my mom is going through. I don’t know what to feel honestly like I said I’m numb still, but I know it’s better out than in and so I will release my grief as I can and as I continue to honor his memory and legacy of love, kindness, gentleness, and laughter. 

Death and dying

The situation

I grew up without a father, but my mom married a man who was a family friend when I was 11 years old and he immediately set about to teach me and help raise me. This man was a father to me, regardless of blood ties and he showed me how to be a man and the meaning of sacrifice and love. In November he was hospitalized with a host of maladies and a few days ago, the hospital said they did everything they could for him and it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable.

His liver is failing, his white and red blood cells are plummeting and his platelets are dropping. He has fluid on his heart and lungs and he cannot get kidney dialysis in full, as his blood pressure keeps dropping to dangerous levels. He is dying…

They are releasing him to my mom to take care of him in his final days and my uncle and aunt are going to be helping her through it all. I have four kids, a wife, and live all the way across the city, literally over an hour away, or I’d be there myself to help. He is not yet dead, so we’re planning on copious visits to have him see his grandkids and son a bunch.

So I’ve been dealing with a lot… I haven’t been on social media much, I haven’t updated my websites much, and I’ve been spending a ton of time with my family. I’ve submerged myself in working out, health, and fitness, music, and meditation to help take my mind off of everything. Honestly, my mind is a mess at the moment, but I’m trying to keep it together for everyone else… my own version of “smile now, cry later.” 

My dad’s mind is also going south a bit, he doesn’t always recognize where he is, on the phone, he calls his wife (my mom) mother when his mother and father died over 30 years ago. The doctors said it’s due to an excess of calcium that’s holding sway over his mind and keeping him in a dazed and confused state. It’s tough on everyone, but we see glimmers of him through all of that, we know the real man behind the mental fog.

Memories

I have thousands of memories of him and I’d like to share some of them here with you.

That’s him to the far left at my wedding reception, which I am so glad to have memories of him being there. At the wedding ceremony, he was so happy and proud, at the reception he was in awe at how nice it was (thanks to some truly special friends of ours). We had a ton of food and the hall was behind a church from the 1700s attached to a cemetery that was even older and grand. 

In the 90’s he won a contest with Blockbuster video to fly to North Carolina and see Paul McCartney live in concert, all-expense-paid… he took me. He knew I love music and he chose to take me and have some bonding time and it was something I will never in my life forget. It was also my first time on an airplane and that was so much fun, especially that we flew on a jet, a crop duster (not kidding), and a couple of large 747’s. 

Once when he worked security, I showed up to visit him and drop something off and all of the guards were terrified (I’m a rather large bloke). They told him that I looked like a wrestler or Mafia enforcer there to hurt someone and he said, “That’s my son!” They apologized to me and let me in to see him, but it’s a story he and I are both fond of telling. 

There are so many memories we’ve had, but now it’s time to make some more last and special memories.