My dad died on December 30, 2015. It was such a long journey getting him healthy and within five months, he was gone. After someone dies, it seems as though everything stops. And then…everything goes into overdrive. Planning the funeral, making sure everyone has information to get here from out of town, making decisions you don’t want to make and trying not to think about the hole in your heart.
We held a beautiful memorial for my dad. I did a slideshow of pictures and memories and told the story of my parents meeting and falling in love. The songs were perfect and after timing them what seemed like 342 times, they worked just as I had planned. We released doves after the service and played Spirit in the Sky, a song he loved.
We brought in a catering truck and hosted a lunch after the service, and everyone loved it and said what a perfect day it was. And it really was. It’s weird to say that the day you honor your dad being gone was perfect. And when I say perfect, I mean perfect except for the fact that my heart was breaking inside and relieved all at once.
A few days after the service, people stopped asking how we were doing. It gets quiet. Everyone just gets on with their lives. That 3 days of bereavement that my company paid for was nice but really??? 3 days?? The pain and the loss started after the perfect day when it was quiet and the flowers that were sent to us are wilting and the sympathy cards are getting tucked away. Do we save sympathy cards from people? Is this something I’m going to want to read again?
About a month after the service, my mom got a card in the mail from my boss. It wasn’t a sympathy card, but more a “thinking about you” card. Right at the time it got tough because the reality was setting in, this lovely thought arrived in the mail that made my mom smile. Not much was making her smile so this was a gift.
One of our family friends told my mom that she would call her on Valentine’s Day so she wouldn’t be alone and sad. And she did. The call meant so much to my mom – and to me. People that keep their promises when it would be really easy not to are rare.
We need to do this more often. Check on people who seem like they’re fine. Write that letter. Call that person that lost someone they love a few months ago. You won’t bring up pain or remind them of something sad. They will be so happy that you remembered the person that they loved and thought enough to call and check on them. Kindness always wins.