I’ve arrived at daddy’s favorite place, the cottage. I’m going to stare at the water with Mr. Sugarbears, drink a little beer and be thankful tonight. I’m sending peaceful thoughts to the world.
It’s so hard to write when your heart is hurting, which is why I’ve been silent for a few weeks. My daddy recently passed away unexpectedly and I’m sad and angry, but I’m starting to feel the compression on my chest lift. I can’t imagine feeling normal again.
My mother requested that I write his eulogy and speak at his funeral. I still can’t believe that I did it. I hope it was good enough.
The night my daddy passed away, his truck was fully loaded with deliveries. He was still running the family business. He was home by 9pm that night from a hard days work for “date night” with momma.
When my mom asked me to write his eulogy, I was still in shock, as were she and my sister. I agreed with hesitation. I tried and tried to write down what I thought would be appropriate. I stayed up very late the night before the funeral trying to put it down on paper. The next morning I woke to a pile of papers that either spoke about my pain or spoke only of his accolades. I just couldn’t get it together, but then I didn’t have a choice. I had to honor my dad and I couldn’t let my mom down.
My husband took pity on me as I sobbed about it. He looked over all of the scattered papers and simply said to me, “It’s all here, you just need to write an outline and put it back together”. He took my hand and pulled me outside. We sat on the front porch breathing in the fresh air and he let me just be.
My husband was very close with my dad and I’d even venture to say that they were best friends. I knew he was in great pain, too. As we both stared straight ahead looking at the park across the street, he started the sweetest reminiscing. He laughed a little as he talked about dad. Dad was one of a kind. Dad always ended every conversation with, “Good Enough”. I can still hear it in my mind right now the way his sweet voice would utter the words. We laughed about all the meanings of it. Sometimes it was simply that he was done with the conversation and had to get onto another project. Sometimes it was simply that the cold coffee or burned toast was good enough. He was always happy with the least for himself.
He spent his life taking care of his family, his church, his business, his neighbors, his alma mater…strangers. Daddy was amazing.
Thanks to my brother-in-law, Freebird, we had dad make a bucket list two years ago. It was a short one, but he finished it. He wanted to drive at Nascar, so we set it up and watched him do it. (144 miles per hour) He wanted a 1959 Plymouth Fury, so he bought not one, but two. The first one just wasn’t quite right. That was it. He didn’t want for much. He felt his life was more than enough.
He married my mom in 1968 and she was always his girl. Their love was quite extraordinary. I can’t imagine her pain. Mine feels so overwhelming, but I know somehow hers must be worse.
His alma mater that he loved so much, Methodist University, lowered their flags half-staff the entire weekend after he passed. Past and present presidents of the university attended his service. They awarded him last year with an Outstanding service award, but I guess I didn’t realize how much they loved him. But then again, why wouldn’t they?
My parents moved a couple of years ago to be close to me and my sister. My dad still had a home that he was unable to sell and was still running a business there. He tried his best to make it to momma every Thursday night and would spend a long weekend in town visiting his girls (my sister and I), hugging on his grandchildren and tinkering on all kinds of things.
He and momma found a local church that brought them immense pleasure. Momma would actually plan matching outfits for them on Sundays. Daddy went along with it happily. I have been overwhelmed with the love and support that the church has lavished on momma. I’m so thankful.
Although I live in the same neighborhood as my parents, I rarely visit with my neighbors. I come and go so much, but not my parents. They know them all and love them all. They too have been such a blessing. Just yesterday one of them came over and mowed mom’s yard while my sister and I were checking in on her. I see and feel so much kindness and I’m so grateful.
My sister and I are working to close daddy’s business the right way. I’m not sure if we are, but we are trying our best to honor our dad, his customers and his employees. We’ve made some cosmetic changes to the house there and hope that it will help facilitate some new interest. We just want to get through it and focus on taking care of momma and dare I say, ourselves. Yesterday was a good day and I hope to have many more.
For now, I hold in my heart that my daddy was a wonderful man and that he did not suffer as so many do. I hold in my heart the gratitude that he made it to momma that Thursday night, even if it was 9pm. He was there, as promised. He took a long, hot shower and kissed his bride. He snuggled into his recliner with his new car catalogue and perhaps thought, “Good Enough”.