I’ve been missing from the blog lately because my father unexpectedly passed away two weeks ago. Everybody says it’s never easy to lose a parent. And they’re right; it’s not. Especially when it happens so suddenly. My dad wasn’t sick or diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. He was a healthy 57-year-old whose death was purely accidental.
Since my parents are divorced, I was Dad’s emergency contact. My phone number was in his wallet. So it was me who got the call from the police department. I had to wait at my home, with my children, already knowing what the detective was going to say when he showed up at our door. Why they can’t tell you over the phone, I don’t know.
Planning a funeral is something I never anticipated I’d be doing so soon. Although I’m 30 with two children of my own, I sometimes still feel like a kid. Luckily I had the huge support of my husband, family, and friends. My aunt and sister who live out of town jumped on a plane and flew to Cincinnati as soon as they could. My mom and mother-in-law were ready take the kids when I needed it. And my dearest and closest friends stepped up and volunteered to handle food for the wake. I can’t express how grateful I am.
I’ve been getting through this hard time by remembering the good times. Great memories of my dad and the life we shared with him. If I had to share just one thing I learned from Dad, it is to enjoy life. My dad wanted the best in life. And he went all out to enjoy every day of it.
Explaining the situation to my children wasn’t easy. My 3-year-old didn’t really understand. But my 5-year-old cried when we told him Papa went to heaven. He picked out his favorite picture of my dad and now has it in a frame by his bed.
At the memorial service, we covered the funeral home with pictures of Dad. The picture of him above was our favorite. My dad loved the water. He loved boating. And so the quote below by Henry Van Dyke was very fitting. I think it’s a nice way to think about death. And a great way to remember those who are no longer with us in the flesh, but will always be with us in spirit.
“I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says,”There she goes!” Gone where? Gone from my sight… that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says, ‘There she goes!” There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”