Family Viewing and Other Thoughts

My dad’s obituary is now complete and online as well as his register book. So feel free to check that out.


Today was the family viewing of his body. My mom was there as were my siblings and I and my sister’s boys. Dad’s three sisters and my cousin Bobbie were also there. Everyone who could see seemed to be pretty happy with what they’ve done.


While we were there we met briefly with the Pastor who will be officiating the funeral. He wanted to hear some stories about my dad and wanted to make sure that anything I talked about in my eulogy didn’t overlap with what he said in his message. There were a lot of laughs to be had during this time of sharing. I would say that this was a nice (if not entirely complete) oral history of the family. I say oral history because I’m not sure that most if any of the stories that were shared will ever be written down and passed on to future generations. They will be told as long as they are remembered. Family histories are closer to the origins of history than anything else in my opinion. A lot, even in the age of digital archiving is made up of stories that are just passed on from one generation to another. And I’m sure that at the informal time of sharing that will take place on Monday night, some of dad’s friends will have a chance to weigh in and add even more to the collection.


After the viewing we had another family meal over at my brother’s house. I have enjoyed these quite a bit because all of the stories told by my dad’s sisters are somewhat new to me. My dad didn’t often wax nestalgic about his childhood and his antics as a boy and there are still gaps in my knowledge of my parent’s relationship. I think maybe dad didn’t tell us a lot of those stories because he didn’t want us getting any more ideas than we already had. I’m not sure that he would have been as thrilled with me bringing home a pet chicken as he was when he brought one home as a kid.


I didn’t really do anything yesterday and I don’t really have anything to do tomorrow. Yesterday was the toughest day so far. On Wednesday I was so busy making phone calls, sending and receiving texts, reading 150 Facebook comments and by the time all of that was done I was too tired to really fixate on anything.
Then Thursday was making plans for the funeral and more time with family so it was busy and that was good. I was entirely free yesterday, I tried to find some company but the people I asked were all busy which is understandable. But that was when I really had nothing to distract me from thinking about it. I’m not complaining because the truth is that I do need to think about it and process things and grieve. It helps that I did a lot of that while he was still alive but there really is only so much you can prepare for or work out of your system before a person passes.


Last night was one of those nights that I wished I wasn’t single. I mean, I don’t really like being single at any point but there is general discontentment and then there is a level beyond that and last night I was there. I wish I had someone to cuddle as I laid down and settled into bed for the night. But for now I am single and I must live with that until that changes, if it ever does. So I powered through. I really haven’t sulked a lot so far.


As I told my friend Luke on the phone I actually shed more tears when Ginny died. That might seem odd to some people that I would cry more for my dog than I did for my dad but to me it makes sense. I had months to prepare myself for dad’s passing, from the moment I found out there was no cure for his liver cancer. I didn’t exactly shed tears last summer but it was a very emotional summer for me and I was very angry. As I have said before last summer I did a lot of raging against the machine.
When Ginny passed, her health was declining and I knew the end was near but I had never really done anything to prepare myself for that eventuality. Even though I knew I probably would be putting her to sleep I made the decision to do it less than 48 hours before we took her in and I didn’t give up hope that she might get better until she stopped eating which is what caused me to make that decision in the first place.
The fact that the two situations are very different is why I have grieved them differently. When Ginny died I wanted no company, now I want as much company as I can get. It isn’t a case of one of them meaning more to me than another or me missing one more than the other, I really do think trying to work out as much grief as I could while my dad was alive was the best decision I could have made.


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2 thoughts on “Family Viewing and Other Thoughts

  1. Your eulogy was beautiful today. I grew up working and playing on the Huron golf courses where your Dad was a fixture. I also had the fortune of competing against Ivan at the annual Meadowbrook Masters golf tournament in Mitchell. I will miss him. Take pride in the words you spoke today, I am certain your father did.

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  2. Pingback: Behind the Scenes of my Eulogy | Random Catastrophe

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