An Ackerman Funeral

We buried my grandfather today. He would have celebrated his 91st birthday on May 24.

  
His death reminded me of many things, in part because he hadn’t spoken to me in 25 years.

I did something stupid when I was a girl, or I should say I said something disrespectful and he never forgave me. And it worked out okay, because I had my reasons for saying what I did. When I was in college, I approached him about the possibility of being civil to each other for my father’s sake but he rebuked my efforts. He flat out ignored everything I said.

I will not say he was a bad man. He was a decorated World War II veteran. He was a dedicated father to an adopted daughter with intellectual disabilities.

And he and I were once very close. We chewed a lot of Juicy Fruit together and listened to Jim Reeves cassettes. We watched the Dukes of Hazzard.

I gave my dad a pack of Juicy Fruit to slip in my grandfather’s pocket. My aunt did it. Dad couldn’t. I couldn’t. My dad asked my husband to be a pall bearer. These are all small gestures meant to heal larger rifts.

My dad told me I didn’t have to come, especially since we hadn’t talked, and the cemetary was an hour and a half away from the funeral home.

But I had never seen my grandmother’s grave. And my dad needed me. He needed all of his family.

  
You see, I know that people aren’t perfect. And I also know that my father is who he is because of his parents. Regardless of my relationship issues with my grandfather, I owe him for the gift he gave me — the wonderful man who raised me. 

And our feud is now over. Forever. And I can begin a new chapter of my life. 

My aunt, the one with disabilities, never attended a funeral before today. Not when her mom died in 1976. Not when her brother died in 2005. She chose to go to this one. 

I took a photo of her placing her rose on the casket.

  
I placed the last flower. Seemed appropriate.

Preparations for France and Russia

 
Sunday my vacation begins…

And do I ever need it.

Life has been hectic, and isn’t it always? Daughter spilled water on husband’s laptop and fried it. Husband drove through nasty pot hole and did $1400 worth of damage to the front end of the car.

I can’t find my sunglasses (prescription) and I just got a new crown that the insurance company is fighting. But hey, we’re surviving. 

Then my grandfather died Saturday night. He hasn’t spoken to me in 25 years, but it’s my father’s father and my father is one of the central people in my universe so seeing him struggle is hard.

He had considered not having a funeral, but now we’re having the traditional viewing, funeral and taking Grandpa to the cemetery. It’s going to be a long day, especially since the cemetary isn’t even in this state. 

It will be the first time I’ve ever seen the family plot, as my grandmother died when I was a baby.

And in the midst of this craziness, there’s the upcoming trip to France and Russia. So I’m thrilled to be traveling again, but part of me is simply desperate to escape.