crown him with tooth wax

How do I at all summarize these past two days? People. People. Food. People. Sleep. People. Pretty much…
The visitations were so special. At first I didn’t know what to do. Do I just stand there and let people walk by and shake my hand and tell me how sorry they are? Do I peruse the wonderful tables set up in Dad’s memory for a third…even fifth time? Or do I run away to the bathroom or stop in the atrium to watch the tape of Dad’s final testimony and see his face, hear his voice…
I did all of those things at one time or another. The first two hours were pretty slow because people had work and classes, but the time from 6:30-10 was just filled to the brim with people… so many loving people. I kept getting caught up by hands, hugs, tissues, good wishes, and tearful faces. I didn’t want it to become a blur. My Dad loved every one of these people and that’s what I wanted to do as well. Love them. I’ve never seen so much appreciation for one person before. So many sad smiles. It was really something. My social side came out in full. I was surrounded by friends and loving relatives and community. So much so that I couldn’t spend more than two minutes with any one person. It is such a shame that funerals are one of the best social functions out there. I feel so… connected. surrounded. engulfed. embraced.

The best part of the wake came at 7:30 when people sat in the seats and pews and person after person came up to a mic and shared their experiences and memories of my dad’s life on earth. wow. I didn’t share most of those memories and so I got to know my dad even more just hearing the love and the laughter people had to share about who he was. And boy was there so much to share. The whole day I cried on and off. Mostly when I was hugging a friend. So many shoulders…

And I should explain this story sometime, but every time I say that I never do. So this I want to say… that the best physical gift given to me in a time of mourning has got to be Stein’s Black Tooth Wax from Sister Sarah, my old 7th grade teacher who came through to see me and shared some big laughs of love and memory about the great times we had in her class. Just think what a bunch of 7th graders can do with Stein’s Black Tooth Wax. Then you’ll get an idea of what Sister Sarah was like ;o).

now, onto the funeral…

Today was so spectacularly special. Dad would have gotten such a kick out of it, and I’m sure he did. I spent the morning eating breakfast with T, Nat, Jamie, and Chris (thanks for coming down, hon. you’re a star) at Big Boy’s and then getting over to the church early where already dozens of folks were mingling. I have never been hugged so much and so firmly! Oh my emotional IQ soared. The love I got was like a tingling that started at my toes, each hug filling me up and sending it flooding my legs, my torso…
Goodness, at the moment the family processed into the sanctuary for it to start, my tears were nearly bursting forth like dam waters. I held Miriam’s hand as we went down the aisle, last in line of so many close and distant family. Mom and Steve were ahead of us, arms linked, holding each other up perhaps.
We sat in the front row, myself on the end and then Mom, Miriam, Ryan (Mir’s man), Steve, Tracy (Steve’s girl) and Tracy’s mom. I am so glad they stocked the row with Kleenex. I grabbed a handful and stuffed them inside my pocket for later. I was already nervous about reading my poem aloud.
The service started and boy was it spectacular. Just like Dad wanted. We call it “Big Organ.” Dad so loved his Big Organ music. “Crown Him With Many Crowns” blasted from the speakers and my heart tore in half. I wept through the third verse when my voice came back to me and with shaky breaths, I belted out “Crown him the lord of life who triumphed o’er the grave…” Dad was probably singing the loudest in Heaven at that point. I could just hear his bass bellowing with that organ. He really loved Big Organ…

We prayed, praised the Lord (yes! praise His name! Have you met Jesus? want to learn about him? email me:), shared about him… Steve my brother got up to speak. I think people were so impressed with his love, his delivery, his humor… For all I know he’s destined for the pulpit. His life has changed dramatically in the past 6 months. He’s a new man. My Dad is partially to thank for that and that’s what Steve spoke of… wow. I just about lost it right there! But my tears decided to give up on me. I had people praying that when I got up to speak, I wouldn’t lose control. And so when he stepped from the pulpit, I stood up, straightened my shirt, and went up to that place, that place where nobody plays tag and nobody messes around. Oh wow the lights were so bright and there were so many faces! I spread out my paper, unfolding the poem I was to read and giving a chuckling disclaimer about being nervous.
“This was written shortly after my dad was rediagnosed, so about early 2001. Dad’s already read it… even told me to take a poetry class at college. Hehe, I haven’t done that yet…

Your Shoes (I love you Daddy)
I know that if I asked for you,
you would run to me and never ask why
Should I cry, I know before a tear could fall
you would draw it up in your hands and hold it there
and be with me
You shared your soul with mine as I learned how to walk
You held my hand and I was yours forever
I knew you loved me
You held me in your arms even as I ignored you
And worried you
But nothing could stop me from loving you
You made me
And you showed me God when I would let you near

But I didnít mean for you to leave so soon
I havenít shared you yetÖ
I havenít wanted to.
Leave a pair of shoes for me please, daddy.
I want to walk in them
I want to be like you

You taught me how to share my toys
And not to worry when life is out of control
You worked for days upon years
If only to bring me a snack before bedtime.
And told me stories of who I could be
But you loved me for the me I am
Your words could calm my pain
Even when it was more than you could bear
And somehow you were given the right to tell me how to live
But I needed your guidance and the advice you spoke
Because now that I am grown
I am better because of the pieces you gave.
You died to yourself and I live in result

But I didnít mean for you to leave so soon
I havenít shared you yetÖ
I havenít wanted to.
Leave a pair of shoes for me please, daddy.
I want to walk in them
I want to be like you

I don’t even have the energy to share more. I’m sure you don’t have the energy to read any more either. This is more for me than for you anyway. I’m so scared of losing any great memories… God help me always remember.