Sitting in my father’s chairIt is late at night as I write this, the house is silent after a long day of running here and there, getting things done, sharing the latest of our family's news with friends and dear ones far and wide. But this is not my house, it is my parent's. I sit here in my father's chair, reflecting, praying and contemplating. He will never sit here again. July 31, 2009 marked the day of his passing, when God called him home. I am here to try to hold together the shattered pieces of my mother's life, so she will not have to be alone.
Everyone agrees that his death came as a blessing. He had been so sick, so weak and in so much pain - both physical and emotional, that knowing that he has been released from that brings us great comfort. That he is with his Lord, Jesus Christ is a joy to celebrate. The greatest tragedy is that he leaves behind my mother, who now faces her golden years alone.
So I sit here, in his recliner chair, trying to reconcile my emotions. All day long we have been busy, visiting the funeral home and cemetery, meeting with the pastor, making phone call after sad phone call. Mother and I didn't really have much time to dwell overly much on anything besides the practical matters. She is holding it together fairly well, her faith giving her a lot of grace to face this incredibly life-changing event. It never ceases to amaze me what a profound difference it makes when a person hands over their life to Christ. Though still maybe chaotic, out of control and filled with crisis, that grace sustains and carries us through.
Mother and I have even had moments of humor and laughter. Leave it to me to make inappropriate jokes, but if she is laughing, she is still living. Today, first at the mortuary, then at the cemetery, after going over the list of products and services necessary to hold a funeral, the sum total was presented to Mom. Let me tell you right now, folks, you would be very wise to purchase a separate term life insurance policy of at least $15,000 and mark it for end of life needs. Anyway, right after Mom paid the bill at the cemetery for the marker, burial service and related expenses (the plot was already paid for), the funeral counselor took her hand in both of his and very earnestly told he was so very sorry for her loss. When we got back to the car, I told Mom that would be a great slogan for a funeral home - "Your loss is our gain!" We giggled over that for a while.
Over the years, we giggled about a lot of silly things - and it drove Daddy nuts! Many times he would stomp out of the room, annoyed at the silly women in his house as we laughed until our sides hurt. The fact that he was annoyed because he didn't get our sense of humor just made us laugh even harder.
We almost broke out into one of those giggle fits while selecting Daddy's casket. I threatened to bury Mom in the one that was pink with lacy, frilly lining and an embroidered flower on the inside of the lid. She said, "You do and I will come back and haunt you!" I stuck my tongue out at her.
Mom is going to be OK. And Daddy is OK. Me, if I can survive this week, will recover.
I had some other thoughts, but they seem to have floated away. I should sleep, we have another long day tomorrow.
The service and burial is Wednesday, and the world resumes its regular spin on Thursday.