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Monday, June 14, 2010

Mourning Daddy

The sermon yesterday morning was on honoring your father and mother, and the Sunday School lesson was on the celebration of rest.

Just having Daddy beyond my reach is almost unbearable. I want to talk to him so badly. I want him to hug me when I walk through the door. I want him to be sitting at the kitchen table in his ratty old green terrycloth robe, his hair hanging down and his eyes starting out of their sockets behind his glasses as someone startles him by just coming into the room. Daddy startles easily. I’ve seen him just about jump from his skin when the deacons pass the plate at church.

I love his stories, his verbal visuals of events from work and childhood, his “retellings” of movies that so often were far more entertaining than the films themselves. I love his fixing things—a dexterity that my brother Nate has inherited—just knowing how to wire and plumb and build and do an excellent job at it. I love his outgoing aspect, his willingness to engage fully with people, finding them fascinating. He was firmly dedicated to our family (both sides and his children’s in-laws), and revelled in sampling new experiences.

He was incredibly generous—I remember the afternoon that he took me to Atlanta and we not only went shopping and ate lunch in a posh restaurant at Phipps Plaza, he also bought me a pair of floral gold and silver earrings at James Avery (I am wearing them right now).

I love that he took the need for personal salvation seriously, praying with his patients and witnessing to his colleagues, despite the fact that his temper sometimes tripped him up. I’m usually too afraid to talk about my faith, because I know I’ll screw up, but he didn’t let this fear of failure quell him, and he became more and more Godly as the years went on.

I am so sorry that several of my friends did not get to meet him. Of course, given that my mother has always told me, “You are your father’s clone!” they already have, in a way. But he was a much better storyteller than I am, with a broader range of experiences, from military to civilian doctoring; having been the son of a first-generation immigrant and having risen from abject poverty to enviable prosperity also marked him.

My eyes are shrunken and burning. All the tears have eaten, acid-like, into the whites, which are stained red.

Dex took me to the airport and sat with me for over an hour while we waited for my delayed plane. Delta charged me $25 for checking my suitcase of mourning clothes. I think I will write them a nasty letter about this. Insult to misery. Because of the delay for “technical reasons” in Washington, I missed my connecting flight in Atlanta (where I wrote most of this, but where it wasn’t posted because Hartsfield doesn’t provide free wifi), and was forced to wait until 5:40 to depart on the next leg of my journey.

It does me good to write. Sure beats crying and blowing my nose until it is the size of a plantain.

I am tired. I slept perhaps three hours last night, despite three Ibuprofen (my jaw was so painful I could barely open it) and three Ativan. I was considering the need to call our family internist to see if he could give me a quick prescription for something that’ll enable me to rest, but on my arrival home my mom told me that he had already sent over prescription for a "family-size" bottle with a bouquet of flowers.

My dear sister-in-law is writing thank-you notes for the food and supplies that people have been bringing by. We have two hams, and more carbs than you could shake a stick at. The funeral is scheduled for Wednesday at 1 PM. I should be able to be back in DC in time for Susan's wedding rehearsal on Friday.

It's going to be rough to see Daddy's empty body lying in a casket tomorrow at the visitation.

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