Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday Guest Blog

5-25-11 memorial brain
This weekend, Greg and I will be spending time in Charles City. Mom and I will make our annual trip to the cemetary with flowers laid on the graves of special people. Memories of our loved ones keep our connections strong and everylasting. Ann is finding wonderful ways to keep her father's love alive in her heart. -Judy

Everyone Needs A DO-Over

Memorial Day 2011 will be very special and meaningful to me with the recent death of my Dad. Weird as it may seem, personalizing death is new to me. To be honest, I’ve always looked forward to Memorial Day as it would be the first holiday and three-day weekend since January 1. This year, it’s my turn to remember someone, Matthew, my Dad.

I’ll be the first one to admit, I was not ready for Dad’s death. Within minutes, there were many decisions to be made: do you want an autopsy, speaking with the Chaplin, final prayers, which funeral home to call, what clothes should he wear and not to mention, burial or cremation. So many decisions to make in less than 8 hours, but we got through it. One final decision was his obituary, what to write and what picture to use. That’s the source of my DO-Over.

Oh my, where was my head when selecting his picture. For the record, Dad did not like his picture taken for one reason or another. The picture selected was one that I took September ’10 while we were in Toronto and sad to say, at a family funeral. She wanted everyone to wear something bright so my Dad wore this pink shirt. While the shirt looked great, he looked tired and he was looking down (15 hour drive will do that to you). The second picture was also at a family event, his granddaughter’s wedding in ‘08. He looked great here and you would not of known we drove 18 hours to get to the wedding. After thinking it over, I asked the funeral director if he would do me a big favor and make a few more announcements using this picture. Everyone needs a DO-Over, and other than the picture, here’s a few things I failed to mention.

Dad was a well-read and informed man. If he wasn’t reading the newspaper, he was listening to the news. If there was a breaking story, he was all over it, watching it cover to cover (much like me). He had his favorite reporters but he loved watching Nancy Grace. Dad worked two jobs until the age of 65 then he took a break and only worked one job until the age of 77. He became an American Citizen in 2003 and was extremely proud of passing the citizenship test, holding dual citizenship (USA & Trinidad). He saw the dessert of Palm Springs, the mountains of California, the waters of Florida, sat in the bleachers of the Indianapolis Speedway and got to see Danica Patrick race, not to mention his Redskins adventures. He was a Republican and attend the ‘07 Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa on one of the hottest days in August and conversely, attended his first Iowa Caucus on one of the coldest days in January ‘08, supporting Mike Hucakabee. Dad lived like he had $5 in his pocket but indulged with buying good shoes and name-brand clothing. I’d say, “Dad you could buy a good shirt/suit at Kohls”. Nope, he wanted to look good in his shirt, tie and suit, and that he did.

Dad loved his steel pan music and listening to Top 40 tunes. While I listened to NPR in the car, he had tunes on his radio with Lady Gaga, Katie Perry and when Taylor Swift came on he’d say “there’s chicken legs, I really don’t care for her”. He was a fan of Dancing With The Stars, America’s Got Talent and American Idol, using “dawg” every now and then. He had an old TV and I’d say, “you need to get a new TV” and nope, he wanted to buy me a fancy one for taking care of him. I still can’t do that. We made a deal while he was in the hospital, that he would come to live with us and he agreed saying “you’d better call the landlord, I need to give a 30-day notice”. I’m comforted with the thought that he knew he would not be alone.

On this Memorial Day, May 30, 2011, I am honoring Dad with this post and this memorial garden. He will not be alone in the garden, The Angel will watch over his rose bush and lily and the light of the solar ornament will allow him to find the way to me whenever the need arises. Dad’s DO-Over is now complete.

Chat Later

That Girl, Ann Marie

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