Monday, January 15, 2018

Celebration of Life for Dad

On Saturday, January 13th we had a private family memorial for my dad at his house.  It was perfect! My cousin, Jeff spoke loving words about my dad and our family.  We watched a beautiful slideshow of dad with beautiful music, my step-mom, Jeri and I both read personal eulogies, and my sweet girls tried to read a poem, but both broke down, so I took over and read it for them - how did I do that?  It broke my heart to see them so sad. Afterwards, we had a lovely family dinner provided by my mom and her family,  Jeri's sister's family, & Tracy Williams.  My amazing friends, Shay, Rachael, and Alice put it all together and cleaned up for us - I do not know how we would have gotten it all done without them.

Afterwards, we went to my dad's local hangout, Volcano's Sports Bar and Grill where we had a public memorial with over 150 of his friends and members of his shuffleboard family.  It was live-streamed and watched by hundreds of others that loved my dad.  He was honored for his service as a Vietnam Vet with the playing of Taps, and there was a presentation of a folded American flag to Jeri. Then to end the service, there was a sign dedication for my dad's "corner" in the bar. My dad didn't drink alcohol so I love they also included his favorite non-alcoholic beer, ODoul's with the sign. Ian gave a beautiful toast and then there was a huge shuffleboard tournament in his honor with over 70 participants.  Special thanks to those that helped make this happen! Barb, Bethany, Shane and all of the others that donated!

Instead of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made in my dad's name to Camp Sweeney. I do not know the total amount raised for Camp Sweeney at this time, but Dad's shuffleboard family raised over $1,000 plus there have been countless other donations, so I am hopeful that we have raised enough to send at least one camper in his name this summer.  I feel so honored and appreciative.

Saturday was much easier for me than I imagined I told myself I would get through it to make my dad proud and I did.  Plus, being surrounded by friends and family that love my dad I felt a sense of comfort surrounding me. The day after the memorial for my dad has been wonderful and awful. I woke up surrounded by friends and family at my dad’s house. I believe Saturday I was going through the motions. Being brave for my family and my children. Once I got home yesterday, I was once again overwhelmed with grief.  Now it’s about reality and trying to figure out how to get back into a world that doesn’t include my dad anymore. It’s almost like starting over, back at square one. I feel heavy.  That is the only way I have been able to describe it.  My grief is weighing me down, making it hard to do anything other than cry and sleep (which only happens if medicated). I keep watching the same movie over and over; I find it hard to do anything required of me including mom-ing, work, housework, laundry and I cannot watch live TV or be on social media to see that the life is indeed going on without my dad. It is all so difficult.

I want to share what I wrote for my dad and read at his memorial:

For all of the hardest things in my life, my dad has been beside me, held me up, and hugged me when I cried.  Today though It feels like half of me is missing.  There are no adequate words to describe the emptiness, the pain, the absolute heartbreak. I don’t even know how to live in a world without my dad.  I thought for a moment I was out of tears, but they continue to fall and fall and fall.  At times it’s hard to breathe, and my body aches to hug him one more time.  I feel broken.  

My dad was someone different for each of you here but... this is my dad for me... He is easy going. He is also fierce and not to be messed with. He is all the cuss words that you can imagine. He is my way or the other my way but never your way. He is Elton John and blackjack in Vegas. He is homemade vanilla ice cream and spaghettios at Gran and Don's on Sunday afternoon. He is game night and dominoes. He is softball all day long. He is the patience that taught me to water ski and to drive a car - now that I think about it perhaps someone else should have handled the 2nd one.  He’s my tow truck driver. My go-to banker. And repo man. He is a Vietnam Veteran. He is GFC, Quality Paint and Body, Charlie Browns, Northwest National Bank, Tarrant Bank and the Corporate Image. He is Williams Shuffleboard. He got me through a rough patch or two.  He has wiped away my tears, spanked my butt, bailed me out of jail and out of debt. He’s a hundred dollar bill just because.  He is cleanly shaven with a hint of coffee and cigarettes.  He is curly hair and blue eyes.  He is an ice-cold Diet Coke on our long drives. He is my Silent Night, my strength, my temper; he is the best damn shuffleboard player I know. He’s my dad.  He is the Grumpy to my children, and he’s forever in our hearts. 

David, you were my dad’s bother, best friend, confidant, a partner in crime, and always by his side through thick and thin. I know he would want you to stay strong and continue the Williams family legacy in shufflleboard and life.  

My hope for my children is that they have the same strong bond that you and my dad have had since you were children.  I would love to see them grow up and stay as close as the two of you have always been.  

David, I love you very much.  
You’re in charge of all us Williams girls now so ... good luck with that.  ❤️

Jeri, I know at the beginning of our relationship things were strained.  I also know that was my fault.  You’ve always been kind to me, even when I was a shit, and let’s face it - I’m a status level expert at being a shit.  Thank you for never giving up on me.  I’m beyond grateful for your friendship and love. My children couldn't ask for a better Nana! You mean the world to us! 

My dad loved you endlessly - you’ve been a huge blessing to him and the entire Williams family.  I know in my heart and soul that you made Dad a better man. He’s always been perfect in my eyes, but there may have been a tiny bit of room for improvement - - - I’m so happy that my children had the best Grumpy ever.  Thank you for loving him and us so wonderfully.  

It is extremely difficult to speak at the memorial of the man that has served as the narrator of my life. In the hours and days since his death, it feel like I’ve lost my words. I suppose it’s because he was the person that provided me with so many of them. 

Dad, your love, your patience (and sometimes lack thereof), your understanding, your wisdom and your fantastic sense of humor mixed with the ability to say everything without saying anything at all will live on inside us forever.  

You have given us gifts that are more precious than anything in this world.  Goodbye, Dad.  You will always live on in my heart. 


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Just a Mom

I am NOT a doctor, nor do I play one on this blog.

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I AM my son's pancreas.

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