Wow, it’s been one blur of a week.

Lovefamilyfriendsphotosfoodtearslaughingcardsdecisionshugswordsthoughtsdaysphonecalls and everything in between.

But I’m still doing alright. I can tell that my body is a little out-of-wack because it just doesn’t feel normal. I don’t feel completely rested and my dreams are strange. They are pretty much a repeat of something that happens in real life; a mix of dreams and reality. I eat at odd times and when I do, food just doesn’t taste right. My stomach hurt for a few days and sometimes midnight can feel like noon.

However, my Dad has left me with a joy. Not only me, but everyone in the “inner circle” as we named it- people who have been around and close to him this summer- has it. It can’t even really be described, but perhaps seen and felt by others. It is being spread to others. I think it has to do with who my Dad was a person and his amazing love for his family. We feel it now, comforting us, along with God’s love, comfort, and peace wrapped around us. Right now it is hard to distinguish the two, but I think they are intertwined. We’ve honestly been smiling more than crying at this point.

But his chair is empty and the house isn’t the same. We are missing him and his physical presence among us.

And that doesn’t mean we won’t go through a stage that is different than this, because I know we will. I suspect the mourning process is different for every person, every situation, and is ever changing. Maybe it hasn’t completely hit us. Maybe the tears will hit us at an odd time. Perhaps it already started to sink in before it happened.
When everyone leaves and it’s just my Mom, my brother, and me here alone, I am afraid for that time. Marcie, Darah, & Ryan are all still here for now. Among all the chaos, my friend Nour from Indiana will be visiting tomorrow night through Sunday– I haven’t seen her since December! I am thankful she has the opportunity to come; I haven’t been able to talk to her much lately. Today I finally sat down and wrote my friend Travis, who is at Basic, to update him on what has happened in the past 3 weeks. I am also obviously now finding time and a mindset to write. Social security, death certificate, obituary, insurance… This is just how crazy it’s been.

August 8th Celebration of Life

I think my Dad’s memorial was a type of closure, but it mostly felt very surreal. It was a great day of celebration of his life though and I’m glad I found time to write something for it. One of my Dad’s lifelong friends told me that my writings were therapeutic for him to read. Same for me- to write. A lot of anonymous people have stumbled upon my blog while googling my Dad; about 35 people to date. It amazes me and I would love to hear from more than just a few of them.

It was a hot August-like day, but breezy enough to keep you distracted from the heat. It was under a Pavilion at Maramec Spring Park, which is probably a few degrees cooler. There were Hawaiian shirts all around, in memory of my Dad, who started Hawaiian shirt Friday at Brewer Science. It started a little after 1 PM, with my Mom beginning the memorial with a few words. Ryan was playing music in the background that my Mom had carefully chosen days before. After my Mom, my Aunt Marcie spoke beautiful words and I followed. My other Aunts spoke, my Grandparents, some friends and coworkers. A lot of people said it was too painful to speak, although they would’ve loved to say something. With the last song playing, “Time to Fly,” my Mom carried out from under the pavilion, a Dove hidden under a Hawaiian shirt, and released it in symbolism of my Dad’s spirit.

People lingered around afterwards, and I tried to get around and say hi to everyone. I was trying to do that all weekend, but it was hard to split up my time. When the last of the family members were leaving the Spring, my Aunt released balloons to send up to Heaven for my Dad to celebrate.

Oh how he is celebrating!

We went home, sweaty and a little drained, but the day wasn’t over yet. There were a few family members and friends at our house, and all arrived around 6 pm in time for dinner. It was different, but nice to have both sides of my family together in once place. We even had time for some family photos around sunset.
If only we didn’t have so many hills and trees, you would be able to actually see the sunset. Oh well, the photographer for most of the day (Ryan Ray, you know him) made it work very nicely. Some other pictures were taken by Darah. All of them are just great.

That night, a few of us stayed up late sitting outside on the deck, and my cousin Darah and I were the last ones to sleep.

She was going to sleep on my floor and I crawled into bed, barely able to see straight because I was so exhausted. I turned off the lamp and laid in bed wearing a shirt that I had bought my Dad, praying/thinking about his memorial. A few minutes later, I noticed through my closed eyes that my lamp had turned back on. I asked my cousin if she did that, and she thought that I did it. Right after we figured out that neither of us did it, it blinked a couple of times and stayed on.

Love you too, Dad.






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