PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Live from the Improv

Well, we hauled ourselves back up to Iowa because today is the Celebration of My Dad's Life. That's sort of what I dubbed it early on & it's stuck. Basically, 40 people at the house, appetizers & drinks, and two hours of who knows what. People like funerals because they're scripted, often have a set formula they follow, and they are a ritual, have order. Since my dad didn't want a funeral, but instead a party, we are all busying ourselves with getting the house ready, making food & avoiding thinking about what anyone might expect or be wanting when they get here. No speeches, that's for sure. I can already feel myself shrinking & wanting to stay upstairs away from everyone, which is not an option, of course.

Last night, we had birthday cake (for me!) and I cried later as well. I'd heard from many people all the "firsts" you have after someone you love dies; it hit me hard last night, first birthday without dad. Grief manages to get in all the sucker punches, huh.

Brenda got out some old photos and envelopes, and I was fine until I saw the photo of my great-grandma Hattie, I know I've referenced her here before, and I burst into tears. There were a couple of her letters in the mix as well, peppered with admonishments, advice, updates on her life, and always a complaint about the price of gas or fuel oil. What a gem. Reading her letters made me smile, and dry my tears. It's how we live on in the hearts of others, I suppose, that determines your legacy. I know my father touched so many lives, and today is about allowing everyone who loved him to celebrate their own memories, their relationship with him. No script, no formula. It's how he lived his life.
posted by PlazaJen, 9:29 AM