Well, we buried dad yesterday – did the interment of his ashes at Tahoma National Veteran’s Cemetery. It was a dark and stormy day – no exaggeration – it absolutely POURED and the wind cut right through you. Mom made a comment that we’d camped in worse weather than yesterday’s. Poor dad, we always gave him such a hard time about the terrible camping weather we so often got stuck in – as if it was his fault.
It was a beautiful service – I was deeply touched by the fact that most of the honor guard and people who work at the cemetery are retired veterans and volunteers. They saluted our cars as we drove to the shelter for the service. The trumpeter played America the Beautiful and, of course, Taps, and one other song though I can’t remember what it was. Deacon Jack and Father N were there and both spoke. One of the Veterans gave our kids some of the empty shell casings from the Rifle Salute which was very cool. Several of mom’s and dad’s close friends braved the elements to join us and a few came to mom’s afterwards for lunch provided by my brother and sister-in-law.
We got through it. Kind of like the last year. People have said that doing the cemetery service would be “good” and would bring me “closure.” I don’t love that – I don’t see how it can bring closure – though, yes, I am thankful that there’s a place where we can go to visit dad. There have been a couple of places during this last year that have been places like that. I can’t drive by Father F’s house across the street from my parents’ parish without staring at the spot where my dad fell on his knees and died. The Port Ludlow beach house was the other place where I felt so close to dad and his spirit. Man, he loved it there. Maybe the Cemetery will bring comfort, who knows; maybe it will even bring closure. All I know is there was such finality in their taking his urn away that I didn’t love. That urn stayed with mom for the last year, it was always there and sure, yeah, it wasn’t DAD, but it was a very visible reminder of his presence and now that’s gone.
We came home yesterday after the cemetery and lunch and attempted to start our traditional day-after-Thankgsiving festivities: “Christmas Decorating Day.” It was a joke. What a flop. What a lame-ass attempt to pretend we hadn’t actually spent the morning doing something VERY unfestive. I laid down and took a short nap – hoping that would help. I was an emotional hot-mess. Zachary was cranky and had a total meltdown. Kayli had a total meltdown. Matthew saw their meltdowns and had a meltdown. Mike was cranky. We were a disaster. We managed to rally and put up some of the decorations, but eventually gave up and watched Home Alone hoping that maybe the first Christmas movie of the season would lift our spirits. It helped a little. We went to bed telling ourselves today was a new day. We would wake up ready to embrace the spirit of the season.
We woke up to a soft layer of snow on the ground and more flurries floating down. Perfect for Christmas Decorating Day round 2. Perfect for lifting our seasonal-spirits.