The past year was chaotic, strange, emotional, exhausting, perplexing...so many other adjectives.
Chaos and uncertainty ran rampant around the time of my father's death. There was a lot of family anxiety about what was best for my dad. We didn't all agree...so strife and anger would be other good words to describe the last few months before my dad's passing.
So when my dad did finally die, things were not done the way it would have been done normally. And I was not there.
He didn't get a viewing; not a normal one anyway. He did not get a funeral. He was not honored properly at the time. There was even confusion as to where his "cremains" were to be laid to rest. Yes, my parents had it all figured out before his death, had all the plans bought and paid for, but once the death actually happened ~ confusion was the order of the day.
After the dust settled, so to speak, a more thought-out plan emerged; we would have a memorial later in the summer. Mom thought August would work, but since I have two siblings that live out of state, it seems August was not great for them. I sent out an email to all my siblings with all the dates from August through October and the only date that was good for everyone was October 13th. This date I felt would be good since it falls on his birthday week. He would have been 82 on October 10.
So, we've been planning the Memorial for the last couple of months. I've sent out Evite invitations to most people and those that are not on the internet, I've sent them a letter in the snail mail. We've reserved a room at the same restaurant that my parents had their 50th Wedding Anniversary party and we've reserved the Chapel at the cemetery for our version of a service.
I've been busy scanning every photo that I have of dad for the slideshow that we plan on playing on three iPads around the room at the restaurant. It seems to me that in recent years we hardly had him in pictures unless it was a holiday. So, I have a ton of him opening Christmas presents, a bunch from the weddings of his children but even more from when he was a young man and just married. I'm totally not done yet...I still have a bunch of photo albums of my own to go through and then the family albums and his Army stuff. One thing for sure, he was a handsome man...and my son looks JUST like him.
They kind of lead parallel lives, at least the younger version of their lives. Both had a troubled youth that neither of them would like to admit. Both have a way with their perspective of reality. Both have very charming personalities and very likeable qualities. Both joined the Army when they were young. Both got married young. Both married very strong women. Both started a family young. Both were "given" the opportunity to make some pretty good money. Both worked very long hours with plenty of overtime. Both loved cars. Both worked on their own cars. Both are artistic. My son and his wife are about to buy their first house and my father and my mom had their house when they were quite young too - however, my mom and dad received their house as a gift from my grandparents (on my mother's side).
Well, back to the Memorial. My mom asked my sister's husband Bill to be the main speaker at the "service". I personally think that this is a good idea. Bill is a great speaker and I think he will eulogize my dad very well. Then it's open mic, in the hopes that others will be able to have a moment and say what they would like to say. I believe my oldest sister wants to say a little something. We only have an hour at the chapel, so I hope that everyone can get to say what they want.
I have assigned my middle sister to make the Memorial card, you know the one that you usually receive at the funeral home. This will have a photo of him and maybe an image of one of his paintings, plus all the other stuff that goes onto one of these types of cards. This needs to be sent to the printer soon, so I hope my sister has something for me soon...
In between the "service" and the dinner there will be about 3 hours to kill. Some people, like my mom will head home and take a little nap. I plan on taking some of my father's cremains to the canal and tossing him in there. He loved the water and he loved that house. It still baffles me as to why they sold it. I know that dad couldn't make it up the stairs any longer, but the house had a living room on the first floor that never got used, so that could have been converted into his bedroom and there was a bathroom on the main floor too. But that's my opinion and no one asked me.
Well, very soon there will be in influx of family to the area and we have some people staying with us. I think the influx starts on Wednesday and ends on the following Wednesday.
We've only got a few more loose ends to tie up and then we're ready.