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THE DREADED DAYS

The reality of it all began to sink in. I was going to lose my father. I called my best friend, Brooke and she thought I was making up a story. She realized the hurt in my voice and asked what I wanted her to do. I wanted everyone to be awake and praying.(Dad went to the hospital at about 11pm) I wanted to use my "get out of jail free card" and turn it into...get out of your bed and pray card.) She called all our friends and our Sunday School teacher who has also lost her dad. My friend Kari Anne came to stay with me at the hospital. Bless her! Chris had his friend Dain come to be with him. Bro Jerome from church was there for mom as well as my aunt Susie, Cousin Sam, Kristy and Jay. It wasnt long before almost the entire police department were at the hospital. By 7am we met with Dr Posas who told us how bleak the situation looked, but that we still had to wait and see. They would later do an EEG to show no brain activity. My friends and family and our police family were all gathered around us at the hospital for the hours that we waited. I cried so much. This was the first time I thought, Why? Why would you take my dear Uncle Stanley four years ago and allow our family to go through so much pain only to repeat it now. (I remember getting the phone call about Uncle Stanley and thinking nothing could ever hurt so bad because I loved him so much and because I knew how much his wife and children would be hurting. This hurt a lot worse!) I wanted to scream but all I could do was cry and every time someone hugged me I would only allow myself to cry for a brief moment and then I would catch my breath. We knew dad's wishes and were compelled to honor them and take him off life support. Our family had never been so close even though it felt like we were being ripped to shreds. My aunt Claire walked me back to "say goodbye" to my dad. I rubbed his arm, kissed his head and told him I loved him. All the while thinking, I dont know how to do this...how do you say goodbye to your father? Then the rest of the family said goodbye and Chris stayed with him. I will never forget Chris walking down the long hallway of the hospital and saying it is finished. We all sobbed like little babies. That phrase stings me now...in our church Easter play, the choir sings a song called it is finished as Jesus is being taken off the cross and put in the tomb. He suffered a death he didnt have to. All to save my soul and yours. I'm trying to keep perspective. Nothing is fair in this world. Death sucks...not for those who are saved. They are happy and with Jesus. I know my father knows no pain. But I'm selfish. I hurt. I want my daddy back. That night my friends Kasey, Jessica, Amanda, and Stacey hung out with me. I wasnt numb but the crying had subsided for a few moments. My heart hurt so bad! I even needed Amanda to stop at the store and get Tums. (I actually relate the pain of a broken heart to some wickedly bad reflux) Kasey spent the night with me. I maybe got an hour of sleep. (I later realized what I knew to be true about sleep and grieving. I didnt want to go to sleep because I knew I would relive the pain the next morning. I also know now that my emotions get worse at night...which is why some of you have received late night phone calls and texts.)

Planning the funeral was awful. There was so much to do in such a short period of time. I relate the stress of it to if you had to plan a full fledged wedding in 1 day. Britt McLane helped us and he was great! When we got to the cemetary, we were told we would need a plot for mom too. She rode with me so I had to keep my composure on that one. When we made it back to the house we had to pick out 18 pictures for the video to play at the visitation. For those of you who know how I take pictures you can imagine how hard that was for me. We had to write dad's bio, meet with Brother Wayne and then Heather and I had to go buy dresses for the funeral. I had some great friends come to my house to hang out with me and Tina even spent the night with me.

The visitation was Saturday. It took me twice as long to get ready that day. I had no motivation. My aunt Ann and Uncle Dana made it into town and I cried on her shoulder for a few moments. She said I told your daddy not to do this to us. Ironically, I remember being at my grandmas after my dad had been in the hospital for something and my aunt telling him those words. This makes 3 out of 4 of the sisters to have lost a husband. My cousin Kristy came to pick me up for the visitation. I knew we would see people who loved us and would want to show their love. I just could not stop crying. I wore my sunglasses the entire night. At one point, I walked outside of Carson McLane and started kicking the orange cones around. Hows that for composure.


The day of the funeral was a Sunday. It seemed weird that people were at church praising and worshipping and I felt like I was in my own personal hell. The church cooked us lunch what little of it I could eat. I wore sunglasses into my church. I couldnt look at anyone. The pain was awful. The words spoken about my dad were incredible. EVerything I already knew he was and then some. It seemed like he really had affected in some way everyone in Lowndes County. My friends who never got to meet him even told me they wished they had after hearing the words proclaimed about him.

The burial was awesome. I know that's very awful to say, but it was. Even through all the pain. I could understand that my dad was being honored in a way I always wished he wouldve been while he was alive. When we walked out of the church and his casket was being put in the hearse all the officers were lined up saluting him. They were saluting him. My dad devoted his life to make our community better. On the way to the cemetary the fire department had a flag draped over the road as we drove by. The bagpipes were playing as we arrived. The honor guard did a beautiful job. God Bless them. They had a 21 gun salute and then the casings were put in the folded flag that had so beautifully draped my dad's casket. The flag was presented to my mother. Dad's car had been blacked out except for a little srip of windshield so whoever was driving it could see. (It looked like a ghost car) He pulled up to the graveside, turned the engine off and sat in the car during the entire ceremony. I would like to squeeze that person for days. (They now have a marker with a red, white and blue ribbon and a black ribbon on dad's parking spot at the VPD.) The last and most tearful thing they did was do a final call over the radio. They called for VPD 400. Deep in my heart I wanted my dad to yell out over the radio I'm here...Its gonna be okay, but the silence said it all. The service was over and I hugged people for what seemed like hours. It was so amazing all the people that came to honor my dad and love on us.
Thank you to all who came or sent flowers or cards or food or called. I wish you could understand this side of Heaven what a blessing that was for us.

That's all I wish to write about that now. I will pick up with a week ago when I actually did start journaling.

2 comments:

Grammy said...

How incredible. Cherish the honor and keep these words protected so that you will share them with your dad's grandaughters one day. God Bless you, I pray, daily. "Miss" Phyllis

Anonymous said...

HB,

My hubby and i were out and about the day of the funeral; we saw every police and sherrif car in the county along with MANY others that day honoring your father. It gave me chill bumps and we both thought how awesome to be respected that much.

Just know it is ok to feel the way you feel, it is ok to be mad, angry, hurt, confused... what has happened to your family sucks; i can't promise you it will ever be ok. No one can truly understand (everyone's family dynamics are different) - but take it to God (i know you do), HE is the only one who can heal you. I love you and i am praying for you.