Sunday, March 9, 2014

Confessions After a Funeral

I miss my dad.

He hasn't been gone for long, but I miss him.

There was so much activity as we planned the funeral; focusing on logistics and liturgical options--not to mention the luncheon and musical choices. It seemed there was rarely a moment to dwell on the enormity of the loss. It was ever-present, yet it loomed more in the corners and shadows of each day. And after the funeral and all of guests there were thank you notes to write and other details that required attention.

And then comes the lull. The condolence notes begin to taper off and as you try to go about your routine you remember that there's a void the size of the entire universe in your heart.

I suppose as daily life gradually begins to approximate "normal," the moments of staggering heartache will be fewer and farther between. Maybe not. I don't know. I can't imagine it ever totally goes away. And I'm not sure that it should.

Upon reflection, though--and having had a few days to look back--there are a few things I am pretty certain about.

1. Live your life fully and make a difference in the lives of others and you will be remembered and missed. My dad is missed. And not just by my mother and I. Of this I am immeasurably proud. I am also very grateful for all of the track athletes and coaches who gathered at St Francis church to bid my dad farewell. It was a send-off he'd have loved.

2. Eulogies don't always need to be prepared in advance. Sometimes the occasion calls for spontaneity and in the best of outcomes you still leave the assembled mourners both laughing AND crying.

3. The smallest gestures may mean the most. Including stamps (for the copious thank you notes that a family will need to send) in your condolence card is easy and thoughtful. As is sending a pizza. Seriously. A neighbor rang up and asked what time was good for a pizza to be delivered and that was that.

4.  You really do see the true colors of people in moments of sadness and grief. It becomes clear (sometimes painfully so) whom your friends are. And the venomous and toxic people of the world are only made exponentially more so during difficult hours. Not letting them poison the love and good will that surround you in times of need is paramount--and harder than you'd imagine.

5. Let yourself lean on people a little. When people ask if they can do something, they actually want to help. Providing an ear to listen or a shoulder to vent/cry on might be the best things you can offer a friend. It's a good thing to be needed and a good thing to need others.

6. There are not enough ways to say Thank You to all the people who have shown us all such kindness in the past few weeks. For helping with the snow removal; for sharing remembrances; for sending loving, happy, and silly thoughts; for sending pizzas and stamps; for unexpected flowers; for phone calls and emails, texts, and messages. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

GBA and Beaujolais in their beloved blue truck. 


sidfernando said...


Anonymous said...

Just thinking of you and your Dad. — Pat Murkland.

Unknown said...

OT: Manny Pacquiao fans check this out! Watch this cool vid of MP Manny Pacquiao Security gets in trouble at the official Manny Pacquiao Youtube Channel!

Nicole Jensson said...

Michele - it's Nicole Jensson, formerly Nicole Wellik. I've just come across your blogspot, I don't know if you still monitor this or what but I thought I would drop you a line. I am in the process of writing a nomination for your dad to get into the Stewartville Hall of Fame. It has been a wrenching experience so far. I miss Glenn too - alot - he gave so much to so many. He influenced people in ways that you can't describe. The way he inspired people, how did he do that? I can't put it into words but he sure did. Trying to gather the information to get this nomination right shows how many people loved him. What a beautiful soul. And what an enormous hole in our hearts.