I buried my father yesterday. He had full military honors with a gun salute and a bugle playing taps. My sisters decided that I should keep the flag.
…now that it’s all over, I guess I have to stop questioning whether it’s really happened. Since I got the call Saturday, I’ve been walking around on auto-pilot. Every now and then the image of him in his bed, looking asleep but unnaturally pale, would pop into my head and it was like I was remembering something I had forgotten.
My sisters came up and were supportive and helpful. We tried to make all decisions together regarding the service, the urns, whatever details needed to be worked out. We went through his things together, and split his coin collection between the three of us to be distributed to our children as inheritance. We cried some, we laughed some… it was a lot like the visits he loved, when we would visit Missouri or they would come up and the family would be together again after a long time.
Our friends have been very supportive of Mike and I, visiting, bringing food and trying to keep us entertained. I’m alone now for the first time all week, and it’s really hit home that he’s gone. My mother isn’t speaking to me -she turned her back at the cemetary and left without even saying good bye. She gave each of my half-sisters a hug and a farewell.
I knew then that I’d buried the only parent I ever really had. He made the difference in my life, by trusting me and loving me and teaching me responsibility. If it weren’t for him, I can’t say what sort of person I’d be and I owe every ounce of principle and honor that I have to his upbringing.
He will be sorely missed by all, but I have to say I was closer to him than just about anyone else in the world -my husband has been here for me to provide comfort, and it warms my heart to know that he visited my dad and sat with him for a while the day he died. Neither of them had any idea that this would happen.
I guess I just have to struggle to keep my mind out of the “I wish I had visited that day, or insisted on taking him to the doctor three days early, or…” mentality. Between my mother’s coldness, the weighty task of settling dad’s estate by myself, and school starting again on Tuesday, the next few weeks are going to be really hard. Normall when I had to do “grownup stuff” like legal or financial paperwork I’d go to him and ask him to explain it to me first so I had some idea what was going on.
I miss you Dad.