When somebody dies...

In all fairness, I warned you last week: I am still measuring time like this. Tonight it'll be two weeks since my dad passed away.  There are aspects of it that feel like it happened yesterday.  But, for me at least, it seems like it happened a long time ago.  I'm not sure why.  I still think about him every day, and think about the circumstances surrounding his death, and think about the days before his funeral, as well as the day of and the days after...

I don't think I'd be out of line if I told you that my brother, my sisters, and I continue to be overwhelmed by the demonstrations of love and support that have come from every relative, friend, and acquaintance.  There must be something about when somebody dies that causes people to be on their very best, sweetest behavior.  Cards, calls, Facebook messages have all been so kind. A hug and a soft "I was sorry to hear about your dad" - everything and everyone.  Please don't ever feel awkward in approaching a friend or family member who has lost someone important to them.  It means a lot when you care enough to express your sympathy.

A friend recently told me this about his aunt.  He asked her how she was doing and what she'd been up to.  She thought for just a minute before brightly saying, "I went to the best funeral last week."  During the weekend of my dad's funeral, a very sweet and gracious woman confided, "I feel kind of strange saying this in this setting, but I am having the best time."

People have been wonderful in a million different ways.  One day I was at my niece's house when two dear friends of the family unpacked a carload of breakfast foods and paper goods. Numerous family members and friends prepared lots and lots of delicious food: fried chicken, brisket, homemade fudge, special cakes, chicken spaghetti.  There's no way to remember or begin to make a complete list.  Dear aunts and cousins and sweet friends of the family opened their homes so that folks from outside Hope would have a place to stay.  Still other people offered money to help defray the costs of, well, whatever.

Sweet, kind people opened their arms, their homes, their kitchens.  Some drove great distances. Some flew.  They rearranged their schedules - their lives - to spend a little time with us.  They gave us their love, their hugs, their time.  So, in such a setting, I could totally hear someone saying, "I went to the best funeral."  "Think about it," my friend said.  "Lots of great food. You get to meet and talk to interesting people."

I am confident that my dad would have enjoyed the weekend.  He was, after all, the center of attention.  Everyone had great Ray Von stories to tell, and we all remembered him fondly. It was a very sad time, but much more than sad, it was sweet.


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