It’s been a long past couple days. Majority of visitation wasn’t as horrible as I thought. It was tough getting Mom in there, of course. The door was at the back of the room and Dad was at the front. So there was just about always a person holding on each of her arms, so we made sure she was steady. But she calmed down somewhat after about 45 minutes, before it was opened to everyone else. I had a moment when I went to give Bo a hug, since he & Randy came in late (due to a quick shopping trip for Bo). I was going to tell him he cleaned up nice, but he was standing there with tears in his eyes and grabbed me in a bear hug and told me he didn’t think he could do this.
We kept pretty busy most of the day, greeting people and whatnot. Of course we occasionally goofed off – Dad wouldn’t expect any less of us! Jamie shoved Laurie in a closet and slammed the door, etc. Dave & Randy appointed themselves kitchen peeps, so they made sure pop was in the fridge & went and got subs for dinner, etc. It was funny that a lot of people that volunteered at the nature Center with Dad, or worked with Mom or Laurie & Linda’s coworkers came in and I’d look at them and try to figure out if I knew them or wondered if I was supposed to know them. I know a lot of the cousins don’t recognize (or ignored, I don’t know) me, since they’re all older than I am. My second grade teacher came to see us! And so did the doctor that took care of Dad for the past 8 years. That was really touching. Mom really lost it when the Aunts Betty, Jenny & Connie came in, since they’re all widows now. They really seemed to comfort her. At the end of the night, when everyone had left, we asked Mom if she was ready to go and she just sighed and said “if I have to”. It was a lot easier that we all expected.
Friday was the service. I couldn’t tell you who all was there. Linda and Curt chose to sit with their families, Curt way in the back of the room and Linda right behind Mom, but Laurie and I were on each side of Mom, and Terry next to me and Bo (with Lisa on his lap) on the other side of Laurie. I actually felt a sense of peace while listening to Deacon Gene and was completely dry eyed. I guess it just didn’t seem real. Randy got up to say a few words and he introduced himself as the newest addition of the family, since he married me. He told the story about how he asked permission to marry me, and felt that he lost his second Dad because he was made to feel so welcome in the family. It was beautiful. Do you know when I finally lost it? I sat there and watched everyone file by Dad for the last time on the way out and a lot stopped to hug Mom & all the rest of us and all of a sudden Randy’s friend Barry popped up in front of me and asked how I was holding up. SPLOOSH! Here came the waterworks. Obviously OK, until he asked!
After everyone left was tough, too. Mom had asked that we had a last moment with Dad, just her & us kids. We had brought one of the roses from his yard and put in his lapel, then Laurie had brought a gold rose pin that we all touched and kissed and she slid it in his pocket (Dad loved his roses & they were still blooming). Terry pinned his paratrooper pin on Dad’s jacket because he said it was the hardest thing he ever earned in the Air Force. Man, it was hard to see my brothers cry. I could basically ignore Laurie & Linda, but the boys got me. Mom didn’t want to see them close the casket so Laurie & Lisa took her out to the car. Bo & Terry helped to close it while Linda and I watched.
I feel so bad that we asked Uncle Ron to be a pall bearer, but I forgot to put him on the list for the procession! Bad, bad me. Uncle Ron is now the last Owens sibling of that generation. Randy, Jamie, Bo and my cousin Mel all followed the cemetery workers downstairs at the chapel where they took the actual casket out of the fancy outer one and watched them slide it into the van. I’m surprised Mom stayed at the graveside (well, halfway there anyway) as long as she did, but Randy and I stayed right there until the entire thing was sealed up and the marble slab with his name put on it. It was kind of neat, in a morbid way, to see how they put the casket into the crypt. Dad is within yelling distance of my Uncle Mel.
Ya know, I'm still doing OK. Maybe it just hasn't hit me yet. But I did a lot of praying for Dad & Mom while he was sick and for all of us, too. So maybe that's helped me with acceptance and grieving.
The day was rainy & cloudy all day, until they’d just slid the casket into the crypt and sealed the first part of the door. Then the sun peeped out for just a minute. Randy looked at me and said it was like a door in heaven opened to let him in. It was the most beautiful moment.
Sigh. Have to go blow my nose – brb.
OK. Let me tell you that contacts & tears don’t mix! Or maybe it’s the tissues. Either way, my poor eyes lately have been thru the mill!! Oh yeah, at the hall, we all snuck out to Terry’s truck with cups in hand. He had stopped and got the fixings for martinis (or Martoonies as Dad liked to call them) since it was Dad’s favorite mixed drink. So we all had one and toasted him. Yuck! Obviously an acquired taste. But I choked it down.
Mom told us that Randy's Mom had called her, too. Barb is such a sweet lady, I'm happy to have her for a Mother-in-law. She told Mom how sorry she was for her loss, etc. She's another one who can relate to how Mom feels. Randy's Dad passed away right after Christmas 2002. I never even got to meet him.
So Halloween was yesterday. We went & had our family portraits taken in the morning. Yet again the photog said we were the funnest people to work with. What can I say? The camera loves us! I took Angel over to Mom’s to take her & Lisa (& ghost dog Morgan) trick or treating. A lot of people really didn’t think we’d be out. Bo stayed over our house, so Angel spent the night with G’ma. The girls got TONS of candy, even Morgan got treats at a couple houses – which made her think she had to go to each door with them. Between her pulling & the weight of Angel’s loot (and later Lisa’s too) I thought my arms were going to break off. On the way back to the house they generously carried their own candy, so I took off running with Morgan, leaping and yelling "I'm free, I'm free". LOL
Randy took Bo home today, Angel finished her homework from Thursday & Friday (they get extra credit in geography if they bring in the obituary of someone they know – how morbid!!), I’ve done a bunch of laundry and we made a quick Halloween clearance shopping trip also. Everything was 50% off at the Halloween Bazaar, so I got some cool stuff for next year. Randy had my front yard cemetery taken down by 9 am this morning! It’s a good thing I walked around yesterday with a notepad and wrote down ideas for what I’d like to add next year.
I hear a song today I had to turn off. The Judd's Daddy's Hands. Nope. Switch station! I was driving at the time and really needed to be able to see.
Pirate Lisa, Beetleguise Laurie, Evil Fairy Angel & ghost dog Morgan.