Saturday, March 24, 2007

2:58 PM

THE FUNERAL was Thursday. Attended by nearly 300 people, including extended family members I didn’t even know I had (more on that in a future entry), it was a beautiful service. I read from the Book of Hazelle in tribute, the pastor delivered a fitting eulogy centered on love, a close friend of the family sang a heartfelt and soulful rendition of “It Is Well With My Soul,” and four of his best friends, all of whom knew Daddy for at least 25 years, were pallbearers, along with my husband and I.

Daddy was buried at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery, about 45 minutes south of Milwaukee in Union Grove. The burial included military rites, complete with the folding of the flag that had draped his coffin, a three gun salute, and the trumpetsong of “Taps.” The latter completely blew my mind. I’ve heard the song on television and in film, but to hear it live—and for my father—choked me up. It was the final send off, a perfect coda for a life well-lived. Sure Daddy deserved such an honor as a veteran of the Second World War. But he deserved it even more for the great example he set as a civilian.

To know him was to love him.

Yesterday was probably the worst day emotionally for me. When preparing for the funeral and all that it entails, it’s hard to take a moment to embrace the gravity of the loss. The day after, however, I could hardly get out of bed. I felt like a kindergartener, whining the words, “I just want my Daddy,” most of the afternoon and evening till my husband departed for Maine.

Today, a teenager, I’m slowly coming back into myself.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

6:35 AM

GINA CALLED. He has crossed over. At 4:31 AM, just when she woke up and I finally lay down after being unable to sleep, Daddy drew his last breath. Mama said his face wore a magnificent smile.

Thank You for a fast and peaceful transition.

Daddy, I'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places that this heart of mine embraces all day through...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

10:07 PM

I HAD BREAKFAST in Milwaukee, lunch in Philadelphia, a drink in Portland, and dinner in Boston. Airline travel is surreal. It took me as long to drive from Portland to Boston as it did to fly from Milwaukee to Philadelphia.

To say I’m disoriented would be an understatement.

Not to mention delirious with exhaustion. If not for the impending American Adoption Congress’ national conference, which my husband practically ordered me to attend, I’d still be at Daddy’s bedside in Milwaukee. It’s nice to have someone to remind you who you are.

But I need this break. Daddy’s stable, comfortable, at peace. I’ll be back by his side as early as Sunday. The time I spend in my third home at my sister-friend Gail’s house will serve me well in the near future.

Now if only I could get some deep sleep.