Who says 'I loved that funeral', or 'that was a fun funeral' or 'best funeral ever'? It's weird and creepy and crazy and, it seems disrespectful. But that's what I heard over and over again on Sunday afternoon after the funeral. Yes, my special guy passed away, quietly and peacefully in his sleep, with my husband and I at his side.
It was a tough road, watching him cry out in pain as he did so many days and nights. But through it all, he never lost his sense of humor. When nurses would talk to him, he look right at me and stick his tongue out, or when he couldn't talk, he wink at me. And when his nurses and caregivers would give him hugs and kisses, he said, 'wow'. The fun we had with the fart app I put on my phone just to amuse him was ridiculous. Even in an almost comatose state, he still smiled if I pushed the button. When he was in better shape, I had him push the buttons and we'd blame the noise on who ever was in the room. It was adolescent, I know. But geez did we ever get a lot of laughs out of it. I guess it's true, boys never grow up. This boy was well educated, creative, a visionary, well known and loved by many..... and at 88 years of age and wanting to die, and he still laughed at fake farts.
So, back to the funeral.... a brass band played some kickin' New Orleans style music at the beginning and end, with a rousing eulogy by his favorite pastor. This guy was great. I want him to speak at my funeral! He spoke from the heart about himself, the world and his friendship with the departed one. There were no tears at this funeral.... odd... but it was such a celebration of a wonderful man and his wonderful life, that I guess we forgot for a moment he was no longer on this earth.... but instead somewhere having a wonderful time reuniting with his wife, who passed one year earlier and missed so much.
Am I going to miss him? Yes, I am having withdrawals. We were together at some point every single day for months, and for the last 4 weeks, every day and evening. Who will I play the fart noises for now? Who will I take shopping? Who will I go for walks with? Who will I sit and rock in our favorite recliners with, while we watch tv or talk? I guess I have to go to Margarita Monday by myself this week... love you Pops... will miss you terribly....
Thank you for letting me share your last months so intimately. You thought enough of me to tell me your secrets, your fears, your memories, your wishes and best of all, the laughs. Though I have not done massive amounts of crying, my eyes burn from the inside out....
So once again, in the spirit of Ms. Artsyville Aimee's list making... here are a few things I can tell you about my father-in-law:
- He was silly and mischievous . . . right up to the end
- I loved seeing the sparkle in his eye when I'd show up and he'd say 'WoW. Looks who's here'
- He was fiercely disciplined... unless it came to ice cream and Dewars (scotch)
- We laughed together till it hurt, every single day
- Though he hob-nobbed with some of the most famous people in the world, he was very down-to-earth and humble
- I loved it when he tried to use his age and authority to get his way, even when he knew it wouldn't fly
- He was always excited to hear from former students, learn about their lives & proud of their successes
- He let his personality speak not his accomplishments
- He hugged me, kissed me and told me that he loved me every day
- He lived life to the fullest and chose just when and how to end it, and on his terms
The video below is the Motor City Street Band playing
'Oh When the Saints Come Marching in' at the end of the service.
He was a life long trumpet player. Still performed in two bands until this past July (when the photo above was taken). His trumpet has now been silenced.... but the wonderful memories of him and his music will live on in the hearts of all who knew him.
Thank you for letting me table my creativity while I went on this journey. Thanks too for going with me......