Saying Goodbye

The memorial services for my father in law and his friend took place today at Pillar Point Harbor.

I met the daughter of the fisherman who lost his life with my father in law. We hugged and cried together and it was as if we had known each other forever.

There are people who we meet for the first time and instantly click. That was Kim and I. I wish she didn't live 3000 miles away. She is going home tomorrow and I know we will keep in touch and get to know each other better. It was such a comfort to have her there with me at my FIL's memorial service. Her Dad's service was the hour before ours started and her Dad was old school like my grandpa. When he gave his word that he would do something, you could guarantee he would follow through. His word was his bond. A lesson my grandpa modeled through actions, and a lesson he made sure he taught me as a child. A lesson I have passed on to my daughter.

My day didn't start off so great. Hubby and I still weren't really on speaking terms and when we reached the restaurant at the harbor I began by ordering a shot of whiskey at 12pm. By 2pm, the bartender and I had a moment. I said, "I'll have the usual" and he nodded and brought me my rum with a splash of coke and 4 cherries. I went through 4 of those. I was about 2.5 sheets to the wind and realized I hadn't eaten anything and realized that my daughter at age 16 had NEVER witnessed anyone, especially her mom drunk. It freaked her out. She wasn't a big fan of the mostly drunk version of her mom. I do feel bad about that part, but considering I NEVER drink more than a half of a glass of wine with a meal, she will get over it. She's almost an adult and it's good for her to realize I am human and not supermom.

It was a little difficult for hubby, as the family and friends came in asking for me. We hugged and talked and cried together. I felt like I had grown to know my FIL's close friends as if they were family. I have grown to love them all, but especially Dave, Charlie and Mike. They loved my FIL like a brother and I know how much he meant to them. I hope they will find comfort in knowing how much their kind words today meant to me and my MIL.

My hubby was taken back by it all. I know his feelings were a tad hurt that people weren't acknowledging him in the same manner. But that is simply because his personality style is more introverted, and I am definitely a people person, and had spent the previous 10 days consoling people over the phone and who stopped by to visit my MIL. I made them feel safe and they reached out to me during the memorial service. I am a hugger and a crier. He is a logical thinker and a doer. We all have different love languages and equal but different strengths. I know deep down he loves and appreciates me for being there, he just can't express it. It was told to me that while it feels yucky to not really be on the best terms with him right now due to the immense stress we are under, it's actually a compliment to the strength of our relationship that he feels safe enough to behave badly. Said to me while almost finished with my 3rd "usual", it seemed like a stupid crappy excuse for bad behavior, but once I sobered up and it sunk in, I actually have to agree. We tend to release our stress out on those that we are closest to and feel safest with. He knows I love him and our relationship will weather this storm. I know that despite his behavior, he absolutely knows he couldn't have gotten through this without me. He is spending the night with his mom tonight, she needs him more than I do right now. He'll be home tomorrow and said we would have quiet family time. I can't wait.

At my FIL's friend's memorial service the priest related a story that may or may not be true, but will share it with you because I connected with it.

There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live.

So as as she was getting her things "in order," she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.

She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.

The woman also requested to be buried with her favorite Bible.

Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

"There's one more thing," she excitedly.

"What's that?" came the pastor's reply.

"This is very important," the woman continued. "I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand."

The pastor stood looking at the woman, not knowing quite what to say. "That surprises you, doesn't it?" the woman asked.

"Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the request," said the pastor.

The woman explained.

"In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners I always remember that when the dishes were cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, 'Keep your fork.'

It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming... like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful and of substance!

So I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder, 'What's with the fork?'

Then I want you to tell them: 'Keep your fork... the best is yet to come.'

The pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman goodbye.

He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of heaven that he did. She knew that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the woman's casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing and her favorite Bible and the fork placed in her right hand.

Over and over, the pastor heard the question, "What's with the fork?" And over and over he smiled.

During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died.

He also told them about the fork and what it symbolized to her.

The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.

He was right.

So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you oh so gently, that the best is yet to come.

I just want to state for the record, that while I understand how boring my template is, I will not change it. I am keeping the lighthouse to remember my FIL by. He has left a gaping hole in our hearts that can't be filled. He was funny and kind and simple and would always be there to help you out. He loved to fish, he loved catching them , talking about catching them, and planning how to catch bigger ones next time. He was truly loved by his family and friends. There will be an empty seat at my dining table this year on Christmas Day. He was jewish, but never missed my prime rib dinner, or the expensive brandy I saved just for him each year. I'll miss him taking his shoes off and relaxing on the couch talking about fishing with my hubby and how crab season was going.

I made a plaque with a picture of my FIL on it, underneath the picture of him smiling while out on his boat is this poem:

I pray that I may live to fish

Until my dying day.

And when it comes to my last cast,

I then most humbly pray:

When in the Lord's great landing net

And peacefully asleep

That in his mercy I be judged

Big enough to keep.


Mindi said...

I'm so sorry about your FIL. It's so hard to lose someone who means so much to you, especially so in the winter for some reason. I'll remember you both in my prayers.

PS - Thanks for stopping by my blog.


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