Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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At Peace

Dad finally took his last breath on Sunday, August 19, 2018, sometime around 9 am. We didn’t actually witness it because he took the path so many do – he chose to go when he was alone. We were there though within a few minutes.

Perhaps next week I will post the eulogy I intend to read at his funeral on Saturday. But not today, no spoilers! For anyone interested, here is the funeral information:

Calling hours are Friday, August 24, 4 pm- 8 pm at the Ross Funeral Home; 10 Eckerson Rd.; Akron where there will be an antique fire truck and other equipment on display

The Funeral Service is Saturday, August 25, 11 am at St. Michael’s; 6377 Wolcottsville Rd.; Akron where Craig Wilkins, one of dad’s favorite singers will be leading worship with the gospel tunes Dad loved.

A procession will then head to Terry’s Corner’s Firehall 7801 Chestnut Ridge Rd. Gasport, for a luncheon at 12:30.  A procession will then head to the cemetery in Holley at 2 pm for a 3 pm graveside service.

I wrote the first guest book entry on the three websites where Dad’s obituary is listed (the funeral home and two newspapers) which got me reflecting again. I am hoping that I will be able to fully experience the wake and service. I cope by doing and accomplishing so it will take a conscious effort to stop what is natural to me and just let myself be there experiencing the emotions.

My life has become so intertwined with Dad’s over the last couple of years, that I am truly going to be lost for a while. It is too strange to even think about the large void left behind. I keep looking at my schedule and realize over and over again how much of my life was structured around him. Once again, my household is going to recreate who we are, with one less important person than we want.

Hope to see many of you this weekend. It means so much when others take the time to be there, even we aren’t able to spend the quality time with everyone we want to. Thanks for loving us, and mostly, thanks for loving Dad.


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Eleventh Hour

Back in November, my siblings and I started a conversation with my dad about the possibility of downsizing into a smaller place. We were meeting with him once a month and cleaning things out a little at a time. Things kept progressively increasing in effort until the last two months which have been in full-court press.

Now it’s time. He is moving tomorrow. All these months of preparation and there is less than 24 hours to go. The weird thing is, it has been an especially long, long week. If you have ever quit a job and had a hard time finishing out those last few days of work, you know what I mean.

No matter how much I sleep or nap, I don’t feel refreshed. Tuesday was the last real packing day I was going to spend with him, and on Monday afternoon my feet started feeling like lead. I swear it hurt to lift them and walk. Yesterday I got weepy. We went to a neurologist appointment for Dad in the morning which led to a couple of follow-up phone calls I had to make and that did it. I started crying on the way home. There was no way I could make two phone calls that required my brain to be sharp. So I napped. That didn’t help, but I did manage to get the phone calls done. Of course I did. It’s me. But I was in desperate need of cheerleaders to tell me to just keep going. I had five sessions that night as well.

Today is the last day before the big move. Cry number one was at 8:30 am. I had to call Dad and tell him that I broke his favorite fireman statue. I had loaded my car on Tuesday (which didn’t make sense to him to begin with) and I couldn’t pack it full because Frankie has hockey camp all week and he has a very large equipment bag. Things shifted and a box fell on the statue and broke off both of the poor guy’s arms. Now Dad can sometimes be a typical dad of his generation and not great when it comes to emotions. But he was stellar today. He told me not to cry. It was an accident and he knew I didn’t do it on purpose. He just didn’t want me to cry anymore.

I went home and started on some neglected yard work. I know most people think my yard is always fine, but I can’t help seeing what I see. I know what it is SUPPOSED to look like in order to maintain it properly. I also know it wasn’t important in comparison which is why I was behind. I started to prioritize it this morning and started to feel good about the potential progress I could make.

That is until I realized I had forgotten my psychiatrist’s appointment. I mean, I just don’t do things like that. And of all docs, you never stand up a psychiatrist. Only God knows how much that fine will be. I called and left a message and got there as fast as I could but I was 24 minutes late. She said nope. Can’t get in now until September. Sob session number two with the receptionist. Now I know there is no one to blame but myself but I was pissed off anyway. I’m scattered and not on my game because I am helping a thousand other people, not because I’m sunbathing at the beach. The appointments are only five to ten minutes. She COULD have fit me in, she CHOSE not to. Yep, my fault but I allowed myself to be angry with them anyway.

At any rate, I just had some ice cream with a friend and I’m feeling like all is right with the world again. If I can manage not to have any more crying jags, I may be able to finish my list for today. I may even be able to write up the list for tomorrow of all the things I don’t want to forget to do while I am directing the movers. Empty the fridge, disconnect the TV and all the parts, pack up the DISH for return, remember the little rocking chair that Dad has decided is REALLY important to him so we’re going to try to fit it, finish marking the items for sale over the weekend, blah, blah, blah.

It’s the eleventh hour. Overall, I have to say we have all done a pretty fine job. This might just be the most organized move in history. Most importantly, I feel closer to Dad than I have in years. He comforted me today. I felt his compassion for me. I will savor that for a long time.

If you are bored this weekend, come check out the moving sale. The more you guys buy, the less that has to be dragged into boxes. By this time next week, maybe we will be signing the papers to sell the house. Wish us luck!