Tuesday, January 29, 2013

And Life Goes On

I'm attempting to get back in the swing of things, which for some reason makes our loss seem that much sadder. I spent much of the day Monday in tears and wished I had time to take off and stay home; but, I will probably wish that for a while and life must go on even when I think the world should hit pause.

The visitation for my grandfather was last Thursday night and over 250 people came. One of my cousins was counting and stopped counting (for whatever reason) after reaching 250. I think I can speak for everyone when I say that the faces and embraces of family and friends provided so much comfort to all of us. Before the visitation started, the family had a few minutes alone in the chapel where we watched the slide show that had been put together from pictures we provided. I think those few minutes together did us all a lot of good as we were able to laugh and have a few minutes of happiness before greeting those who came to pay their respects. The slide show was great. Since each family pulled together photos, there were many that others had not seen. The one that received the most comments was a photo of the whole family at Christmas in the early 1980s and I am picking my nose. We are supposed to receive a copy of the photos and slide show on a disc and once I do, I'll try to figure out how to post it so you can see it and perhaps laugh as well. By the time the night was over, we were all pretty exhausted and my feet and legs were extremely tired from standing for three straight hours.

The funeral was Friday and my dad, uncle, brother and cousin did the service and it was beautiful. I thought they each did a fantastic job and I am really proud of all four of them. I liked my dad's the best because he told some great stories that had everyone laughing and I think everyone needs a dose of laughter during sad times. My dad's stories never cease to make me laugh and all the people at the funeral enjoyed the stories as well. The church was packed and it was a blessing to be surrounded by the love of all the people there.

At the cemetery, my dad, aunt and grandmother did a dove release which seems to have become a tradition at our family funerals the past few years. The weather was overcast and misting rain and as a result, it was hard to follow the flight of the doves for more than just a few seconds. A small group of us stayed as they tore down the canopy and seats and waited for the dirt to be brought in. I wanted to shovel some dirt into the grave as did my dad and aunt and so we each did that and then my brother did as well. Once the grave was filled and the flowers were placed on top we left, which was really hard to do. I just felt like standing there forever.

On Saturday we had a celebration of my granddad's life with family and a handful of close friends. Apparently my granddad had told my dad that when he died he wanted us to have a big party to celebrate his life and that is exactly what we did. There were 30 or so people in attendance and we had steak, baked potato, salad and rolls and there was a hodgepodge of desserts brought by some of the people who came. We also did a balloon release which was very cool and kind of comforting in a way.

Afterwards people shared stories about my granddad and we were able to enjoy a few laughs together. While we were sitting around listening to and telling stories, my cousin Lauren's baby Greer, climbed up beside my dad and sat next to him and then got right in his face almost nose to nose. I think babies, much like dogs, probably know when we are hurting and it seemed like little Greer wanted to provide some comfort to my dad and it was one of the sweetest things I have seen in a long while.

Sunday we all went to church together as a family and then my dad's brother and his group went on home and so now we must adjust to this new normal, which is not very easy. Monday was difficult - for some reason getting back into a regular routine just didn't feel right. Instead I felt like the world should stop for a few days; but life goes on and so must we.

I want to say thanks to all of you for your prayers and support and outpouring of love over the last week. It has certainly helped us all through this difficult time and we are blessed and grateful to have such a wonderful network of friends.

On another note, don't forget you have until Thursday night to enter the Fourth Blogiversary Giveaway!


Mary McLaughlin said...

It will take you some time to adjust to your new "normal". Give yourself permission to experience all the emotions that will come, including crying and laughing. It is OK to laugh...I know you know that! Much love to you and your family.

Erika said...

I am sorry you had a rough day yesterday; it's so hard to adjust to a new "normal".
I am glad you had some time to spend with family and friends, and were able to celebrate your granddaddy's life.
Your dad is a great storyteller :) And that picture of him and Greer made me tear up.
Thinking of you.

Jackie said...

Great post! I teared up as well when I saw the picture of your dad and Greer. Love you!