I spent most of my morning trying to be practical and do what needs to be done. And maybe get some breakfast before heading to my father’s viewing.
The teenager went to her morning job— a cat sitting visit— and then had breakfast with her father and my college roommate.
I finally forced myself to eat an egg with some kale.
And I found myself sitting quietly.
Struggling to find shoes that fit.
We drove up to the funeral home and met my aunt and my uncle’s widow and her family. My older sister and her husband came next. And then my stepmom and her sister (and her extended family).
My uncle’s widow thanked me for my recent writings as they helped her adjust to the reality that my father has left his earthly life.
(Later, my stepmom’s nephew hugged me and his wife told me how beautiful some of my recent writings and reflections have been.)
Together, we entered the funeral home. And the funeral director apologized for being in her slippers, but honestly it brought me a sense of home.
We walked into the chapel, and my dad was surrounded with red and white roses and celebrated with so many flowers from friends, relatives and colleagues (some of whom even signed his nicknames for them instead of their given names).
- Photo 1: On the top, that’s a photo of my dad and his older brother, Earl Ivan Jr. or “Skippy.” The photo on the bottom right is my dad on microstock race night with my nephew holding the now teenager as a baby.
- Photo 2: My dad holding the now teenager at the West End Fair, at the tractor pull. It was my first outing with the baby on my own. She was about 8 weeks old.
- Photo 3: I had to take a photo to remind me of how peaceful Dad looked, with a slight smirk like he got the last joke. He just needed a remote and some pretzels. The teenager said before he passed on Wednesday morning, she could feel his reluctance to leave us, but the calm when he did.
- Photo 4: My stepmom and my aunt, the last remaining sibling
- Photo 5: the teenager and her dad
My mother came and said some nice things to my stepmom, thanking her for always being nice to myself and the now teenager, and my stepmom said we are easy to love.
My friends and Parisian Phoenix staff — Gayle and Joan— came. (And the whole day was a theatrical farce of people coming and going and not seeing each other.)
My college roommate slipped out with the teenager’s dad to grab sandwiches.
And my in-laws not only came but my mother-in-law, at my request, made chicken and potato salad and brought many other goodies. Including Memmy’s fruitcake and Uncle Lee’s baked beans.
It was a long afternoon — and people kept leaving things in Dad’s casket: cigarettes, a Harley Davidson hat, flowers, a racing patch.
I wonder what tomorrow will bring.