Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Funeral

The funeral was the next day, Monday. I somehow got some sleep, woke up, put my black dress on... made sure to load up on waterproof mascara, and went down to meet my friends Irene and Jess that had brought my family and I MccyD's breakfast... yes, my friends are that awesome. I brought my mother's coffee up to her room, to find that she was already dressed and ready to go, but she was sitting on the side of her bed. Surprisingly she wasn't in tears, she didn't say anything, I just sat down next to her and told her that today is already 8 hours over, the next several hours are going to be really hard, but then we will get to sit and enjoy a meal with our family... we will all be together. She just agreed, and I got her to come down to the kitchen. We all got something to eat, and piled into cars to head over to the funeral home. We had to say goodbye, I had to say goodbye to my Daddy... this was the last time that I was ever going to be able to look at him, ever... I just felt numb in this moment. We let everyone else say their goodbyes first, and then my brother, my fiance, my mother and I all went up to Daddy's casket. I watched a tear fall from my brother's face and onto the silk on the casket lining, then I looked at tears welling up in my mother's eyes, and finally I looked down at my father;s face. The face I had seen every day for over 23 years... the face of the first man I ever loved, the man I looked up to more than anyone, my hero, my strength, my inspiration, and my heart just broke, not like when someone breaks up with you, or when your heart breaks for a tragedy you hear on the news, this was such a deep feeling all the way through my chest. My heart fell, and I knew it was never going to heal... knowing that this pain was going to be with me every day of my life from here on out, it was a new feeling for me... I knew I'd somehow manage, but I also knew that no matter how much time goes by, this feeling isn't ever going to lessen or go away, it will just be managed... I helped my mother up off the prayer stool in front of the casket, and I bent in and kissed my Daddy on his forehead.... just like I had every day since he had gotten sick.... and my heart fell a little deeper...

Walking out of that room, is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, I had never turned my back on my Daddy before, it felt so wrong... but it was time to line up the cars and head over to the church.

As we approached the church, I could hear the bagpipes, I could see all the cars in the parking lot... I honestly wasn't expecting such a turn out, it was nice to see. Then, the pallbearers got Daddy, and brought him into the back of the church, where our family friend and Deacon was waiting for us, he had brought the whole congregation to the back of the church, to walk Daddy in. My brother and I got on either side of my mother and took her arms, and we followed Daddy in, with all of our family and friends behind us... Daddy would have really liked that, one of my biggest fears about him fighting cancer was that he would find times where he would feel alone, but this... this time where he was at peace, from this moment forward he would never be alone.

We took our seats, and I sang at the top of my lungs, all I could hear was me, over top the piano and choir, I didn't want to hear anything else... I wanted to keep my mind present, as I counted down to my eulogy. No one knew I was giving the eulogy except for my very immediate family, but when the time came my fiance walked me over to the altar.

I walked up the stairs and could feel my heart start to pound, and my elbows start to shake, but I took a deep breath...

"My Daddy was the definition of a fighter. 
He looked cancer straight in the eye and showed it no mercy. 
He won his battle by choosing peace, he had suffered long enough.
And even while in pain, he continued to be an incredible friend, a caring uncle, a supportive brother, a loving husband, and the best father,
As he should have been only concerned with his own health, he would have rather be taking care of all of us,
It's just the way he was,
He was always a stand-up, and by the book, simple man, with the biggest heart.
With his sarcastic humor that left some memories forever branded in our hearts.
Some of my favorite memories are how I'd come down the stairs at noon, in my jammies, with bedhead, and he'd start singing the Miss America Pageant theme song,
or when we were young enough to have to hold his hand to cross the street, he'd start skipping with us and sing Follow the Yellow Brick Road, Follow the Yellow Brick Road,
And then in his final days, he wasn't really aware of what was going on around him,
but when I told him that A-Rod broke Lou Gerhig's grandslam record, he looked right at me and says, "23 right?", yup Dady, now it's 24.
Baseball stats, especially Yankees stats, never left that man's head.
He was just amazing, so incredibly strong, so positive.
He is a part of me, my family, and I will think of him every morning as I wake,
I will miss him every day.
But I will go on knowing that he left his pain and disease behind him,
and I look forward to my time, when he will welcome me into Heaven with a beer and a smile.
I love you, Daddy.
Always and Forever.
No matter what."


Monday, November 4, 2013

The weekend

So we all got home, cried some more, and then somehow got some sleep. When we woke up, we had to make hard phone calls and start cleaning the house... Were going to have a lot of people here this weekend. Then, I took my mother to the funeral home, where luckily we had premade arrangements months ago and just had to make some final decisions. It was so creepy being taken by elevator to the bottom floor of a funeral home... Just to sit in a room full of casket brochures and sample urns, but we had to. We made it through the meeting, and then started our way home. My brother didn't have a suit to wear for the wakes, so my fiance took him to get one, and then I had to get the guest rooms ready for family, and I just tried to keep busy. The first wake was Saturday evening.

This was our first time seeing Daddy after... I walked in to the room and couldn't help but break down in tears. The funeral home did such an amazing job, it looked like my Daddy from 2 years ago, with brown hair and a pink to his cheeks, no beard, no saddness. He looked like the Daddy I knew before cancer. I was so happy, yet so upset, I really didn't know how to react, so I started to talk to others. Lots of my friends and my brothers friends came, my family had mostly gotten to town during the day and they came. It was a rough few hours, we got pizza and beer, daddy's last meal in the hospital, to have as a late dinner at home that night...

Sunday was even harder, 2 wakes, with just a brief break in between. But it was good, some of Daddys fraternity brothers came, and his office staff, and it was just very nice... Until Monday.