Slow Dancing At A Funeral

Most all those that know me are already aware how much I adore art. I have since childhood and still continue expressing myself through the creative processes before me to this very day. My father was the greatest artist I’ve ever known. Yes, he could paint, draw, design, and create things that would blow your mind. All the things I witnessed him create, became a work of artistry that, in the end, captured and amazed those he shared them with. Watching those reactions toward my father, with what he made with his hands, was truly a joy to see. Even his handwriting was the most beautiful and artistic form of penmanship I’ve ever seen in my life.

My father’s birthday is coming near and that is why I am writing this. We lost him many years ago, but I think of so many of these things about him on some days, because I am so very much like him. I am my own constant reminder of the man who was my father. I was quite fortunate being able to share so much depth with him on many occasions, moments I shall always remember. We didn’t always agree, but he knew he had to “agree to disagree”, at times, because I was as strong as he, he was pretty much looking in the mirror and there’s no point in arguing with yourself. There was much respect there toward me from him and he made sure I knew that. He knew I was a “ballsy” woman, yes I had a set and definitely knew how to use them, mine are just tucked up tight inside and I call them ovaries.

He was a decorated Navy Veteran and they came and gave his soul the proper send off. It was beautiful and honorable, to say the least. The night before I had been up all night going through the boxes he gave me of my mother’s personal things, putting together a bit of my father’s life. That was not easy. I wanted everyone to know the man that I knew, the love that once was and just what he brought to each and every one of his children. You see, I had already lost my mother, his wife. Just 11 days prior to her, I lost my grandmother. She was a member of our household for most of my life and my father held much respect for her. She, too, had a set. I then lost my sister, his oldest child. I lost my grandparents, his parents. There had already been a great deal of loss within our family, in so many ways. I was filled with so much, going through all of the memorabilia. It truly tore at my heart strings that night but I felt they were all in the room with me while I sat there alone, surrounded by so much emotion. Not just by the emotion in the letters, the emotion in the photos, the emotion behind why so much had been treasured all those years, but also by the emotion in the air around me. I knew it wasn’t all mine, there were several others feeling a great deal as well and we were all there in the room together that night.

My father used to tell me that he hoped to die right there in the house that he had pretty much built for his family. He did. He hoped to be alone when his time came. He was. There were a great many memories in that house for him, as for us all. Some were wonderful, some not so much. Regardless, he could not let go. He was desperately trying to hang on to that which he still had, a lifetime of memories. Sadly though, I truly believe what bothered him most, was that he was not proud of every single thing he did in his life. Some of which he never forgave himself for. He was a proud man. He was a veteran. We all know, in times of war, some will see things we couldn’t even imagine. He never knew how much of it I knew about, I didn’t have to heart to tell him that, I knew it would only hurt him. I was not able to tell him that this knowledge never changed the way I looked at him or how much I loved him.

My mother was very angry at my father at the time of her death and that will and cannot ever be changed. My father laid her to rest engulfed in roses and orchids, both her favorites. He deeply missed being “in love” with her, it had been far too long. One thing was certain, no matter what my parents may have said to each other, no matter what they had done to each other, they were each a part of the other. Neither complete without the other. They had once loved each other deeply. Years of anger, un-forgiveness and blame had tarnished those rooted emotions and were allowed to take precedence, quite unfortunately. This is why I needed to do this for my father’s funeral. I wanted all those attending to remember the love that had started it all. For us, music was a huge part of our lives. My parents had a song. You knew that no matter what they were doing, even if they were fighting, when that song played, they’d both meet at the source and dance to it together, embraced in each other’s arms. I decided to make a recording of all those songs that meant so very much to them. I called it “To Mom & Dad, With Love” and along with some of the letters, photos and various other chosen items, I arrived at the funeral home the following day to help lay my father to rest.

It was a beautiful service. I felt I had done what I’d set out to do for him, for them both. I was satisfied with what had been put together. We were all feeling a great deal of emotion on that day, of course. Those songs played softly and we all enjoyed sharing all the memories that went along with them. Then, my parent’s song came over the room. I looked at my father’s body lying there adorned with his service medals, looking so peaceful and I couldn’t help myself. I took my brother’s hand and asked him to dance with me, next to dad. So much love was felt there at that moment. I couldn’t help but completely believe that my parents were dancing together to this song along with us. The funeral director said he’d never before seen anyone ever slow dance at a funeral. My brother and I knew that we had certainly done the right thing, honoring both of them that day. My dad remained a very proud man, no doubt in my mind.

~x0x~

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8 thoughts on “Slow Dancing At A Funeral

  1. This is very nice! I miss all of them so much. Grandpa was so proud of his kids and Grandkids. I lived around the corner in the river land Apartments when he died and I would call him and tell him to put on his pants so I could visit.😊 I would go vacauum and clean some things and visit or just visit. We all know how tiddy he was so not much to clean. In case you don’t know but the last two weeks Grandma and Grandpa stayed at Moms house they got along so well they had fun there was a lot of laughing and you could tell they just loved each other again. When Grandma did have a sharp toung with him he would just shrug it off and it was nothing like I had ever seen from them. Since I was the only other person who is still alive who was there I want you to know there should have been some peace. All though I was only 15 and 17 when Mom died and now and 35. I can say those childhood years are so important it made me the person I am today, even though I was still a kid. Without me having to fear dissaponting or getting yelled at from Mom or Grandma anymore I made my fair share of mistakes. But I still can hear the “oh Lindsey” in my head from Grandma. Now having my own kids I am even more thankful for Grandma and Grandpa and how they would just drop everything to help us girls. I know they realized all of Moms shortcomings and had to make up for them, all though she never said it. She also knew you were a great mom and would say it. Grandma adored all of her grandchildren so much she was so in love with them. She would talk about all my of them with a huge smile and seeing her love for them since I was always around made me a better Mom as well. Glad your doing things for yourself that make you happy. ❤

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    1. Yes, Lindsey, there was fun & laughter at the end, but what I’m referring to is the intimacy that was longed for between my parents. Each had the desire, but far too much stood in the way. You’re right, you were still very young then. We all know there’s a great difference between experiencing a parent vs that same person as a grandparent. I was 40 years old when I lost my mother, your grandmother. I was only a year older when I lost my sister, your mother. I had some very deep conversations with both of them, many times. Each knew they were dying and time was drawing near. Emotions were high and feelings were shared on many things. As for the “shortcomings” you refer to, that’s another story in itself. Hopefully you understand one thing, I do have great peace with all of them or I wouldn’t be able to write these words from my heart with so much love and respect. Choices were made and we don’t have to agree with them, just accept them. Everyone is different, each has the right to chose for themselves. Certainly though, there is a great deal more to come. ~x0x~

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  2. So Beautiful !!! This had me in tears instantly…Feeling that love and joy you felt dancing in that moment. I vow to not hold grudges and tension with anyone, especially family! Life is too short…Too precious…And I believe perhaps that is our mission…To get over our huge human egos and realize we are all connected, even if we don’t want to be.

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    1. Yes, sweetheart, life teaches us a great deal if we pay attention. We are all connected, whether related or not by blood. I’m sure that you already know that, knowing the type of woman you’ve become in your life. I am so very proud of you. Communication is key, especially when it comes to family. Sometimes, that part is the most challenging but can ultimately become the most rewarding. ~x0x~

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