For a Heart that is sick…

There is a little girl, not quite three, dying of stage four cancer. Her parents are friends of a fellow infantryman my husband is close with. 

Her heart may be ravaged by this terrible disease, but her smile shines bright when the police officers stop by and visit. Her time on this earth is short and her mom would like to make her a gift…a quilt of police badges, blue and bright, to keep her safe on lonely nights.

If you have a spare or know someone who may give a badge to place on this blanket of love, email me at bitslittleblog@gmail.com and I will give you my address. I will then forward it to the family. Thank you friends!

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Father, Teacher, Friend

He made them a fortress on the wood line, on a broken oak from the storm two years ago. Hobbling on the knees that caused him so much pain. He cut most of that tree, a little each day. Rolling the trunk chunks to fit under the corners just so. A look of pain in his eyes but a smile upon his face

He goes to work each day, EVERY day, without complaint and always/only for his family. For 18 years. Without fail, without expectation of grander dividends.

He goes to the school plays, graduation ceremonies, family outings and fishing trips despite his desires to escape the crowds. He throws the parties and sings the songs even though he’d rather find a quiet mountain to stand on.

He holds his children when they cry and picks up his babies when they reach for him, all while hiding the pain in his back. 

He teaches our children to fish. Teaches them to defend themselves and others. He shows them how to make cookies, pie crust and pasta, even when he’s been up all night tossing and turning. He sows the seeds and teaches our children how to make them grow.

*****

Bravo, thank you for the days, months, years, of being present in our children’s lives. Thank you for the life lessons, momentous occasions, small moments, and life you have helped to provide for our seven children. Each one of them have the best of you. You never hesitate to stand up for them, and give them what we didn’t have most years of our lives…a father. Loving, playful, hard-working, hilarious.

Happy Fathers Day my love. 

For Just One Day…

I don’t remember the last Fathers Day I spent with my dad, but I’m imagining it was great. He would have oohed and such at the silly things we’d made for him. He would have made a drink to celebrate the occasion, and by 3pm would’ve needed a nap. I can’t remember the name I gave him for writing in my blog, but his real name was Edward. To all he was Ed. That tall and lanky man with a beautiful laugh and snarky attitude. He never met a screwdriver he didn’t enjoy and he never met my two youngest children.

When I was very young Ed made me a swing set, and I remember him lining up nails, laid on their sides so that I could hammer on them with my favorite whittled stick.

Once, when my mother was away, Ed decided to make us a treehouse. Using just one nail for each piece of wood leading to the planks that were to be our fort, and my insistence on climbing up first – I got to the second board and slid/fell/smacked my way down. Scraped and bleeding Dad picked me up. Holding me close he ran inside and with mom not there to nurse my wounds, he tried to take the pain away. My brother sat in living room, watching as Ed gave me wet hand towels to dab the cuts, while he warmed up spaghetti-o’s. When that didn’t take the sting away dad gave me a Popsicle. A banana Popsicle. That is a tradition in our house nowadays. Cut cleaning and cold treats make for easy bandaid placement. 
Once when Ed took us camping it rained so hard that the military surplus tent collapsed from the weight, and we had to sleep in the old suburban. My brother and I, in our matching baseball jackets were just terrified by the darkness. Dad was our comfort, and gave us a flashlight and chewy watermelon candy to ease our fears. 

We use to visit old cemeteries with Ed. He loved the history, and reading old headstones, and pulling weeds away from a final resting place. One day I will do the same for him.

(I look up as I type this, and in our yard is a five point buck. He’s a beautiful specimen. I think to myself that perhaps Dad has sent him for me. The deer is staring at me. The dogs, for now, don’t smell him. I wonder if God sent the deer, reminding me that He’s never far, always with me.)

My memories of my Father Ed, though mostly faded, tattered by time and a life taken too soon by alcohol and depression, are with me here. They are in my heart, my mind. And though I try to focus on the good there is a very small part that feels that twinge of pain about all he missed, I missed, we missed as a family. 

I chose to share his name here, with you, my friends/family, because today I miss the speghetti-o’s, and I miss his smile. I wanted him to meet all my children and take them camping, build them a tree house, make them laugh. But really, I want him to call me Honey again. I want him here.

I love you Dad. Happy Fathers Day.

A Daughters Heart

 

 

There is a child in my daughters class, who every day comes through the door dressed like a model for a department store. Popped collar shirts, masculine jeans, skater shoes…the most expensive of accessories.

The bell rings and his shoulders fall. His discomfort fades away and this beautiful child is – at least until the bell goes off to head back home – no longer the boy his surely loving parents dress him to be, but ‘Linda’…a snarky and at times confident child. Just one of the girls.

My sweet Birdie has sat me down many times to let out the built up frustration she feels on behalf of Linda. Whether this child’s parents even know, how come they make who she feels is obviously more comfortable as a her/she/girl/young lady, dress and act like a him/he/handsome young man. My daughter asks why he should have to pretend to be someone she’s not, while little Birdie has always been allowed to be Birdie.

My daughter does not like the tight, high-riding and/or low cut girls clothing. She does not enjoy bling and glitter, bows and girly-ness. Her wardrobe, much like mine was at her age – is filled with boys clothes, shoes, accessories. Nike football shirts, athletic pants and shorts, basketball shoes. She has one dress, which she has worn once. It wasn’t forced, she wanted it and so I bought it.

While trying to help my little girl (with the over-sized and often overly sensitive heart) understand Linda’s life, and the choices we make to be happy, the wise and wonderful mom in me realized something. My daughter is amazing. My daughter has managed to grasp and master what we take charge humans often find ourselves struggling with – acceptance. Whether of ourselves, others, circumstances, happenstances. She gets it.

 

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(While there are a host of ‘issues’ surrounding this ‘subject of debate’…I’ll cross my t’s and dot my i’s as they find their way to the paper, but not before.)

*****

I try not to be a drop in what I feel is an already overflowing cup of unsolicited opinions/advice, but I just want to say that with everything going on, going wrong – I am not worried or afraid of Linda’s miraculous friendship with my daughter.

I am fearful of war.

I am heartbroken for each human being that dies because they are starving.

I pray that those who are lost will be found, free, happy.

I do not pray that God changes someone who finds solace in being who they feel they’re meant to be.

 

*I am a Christian, and I’ve read the Bible. I’ve also lived, lost, learned along the way.*

 

I love my children, and as long as I’m living and beyond I will love them. If I can love my children then I can love your children. If I can accept my children’s desire to be who they choose/need to be, well then I can do the same for yours.

This isn’t about what I want but what makes my children/our children feel whole. I don’t understand it. But I’m not afraid of it, of change. I’m not afraid of a difference of opinion either, but I’m afraid for those human beings that are cast aside because they choose to live. I’m just one person I know. God has taught me that if nothing else, He’s saved me to share His love. He fought for my life through addiction, homelessness…and I’ll be damned if I’m going to be the one to cast a stone at one of HIS greatest gifts…another human being. A life worthy of existence. All unique, all loved, all beautiful in his eyes and therefore in mine.

 

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For The 22 We Lose

 

For him some days are harder than others. Behind the green eyes I fell in love with is another time and place that I cannot go. Hidden deep within his heart so very broken are the lives that have made him unbreakable. The men whose names are forever etched in his mind and closer still as he paces, smoking…

Some things are best kept between him, God and his infantrymen. A loss that I can never fathom but that I have felt, often, as he sleeps – at times running to those he’s lost, to the one he still searches for. In all these many years there are finally heavy moments which quickly fade…or so he would have me believe. I know it is the silence he fears. That quiet goodnight that allows the demons he fights to strengthen. Still after all this time he wakes to check on his brothers. Like a photograph – he lives in a world paused by the scars he has endured. The body he pushed to save all those beside and behind is now turning on him. His heart beats harder, faster. His new knees buckle. His back aches.

 

For several years after I met my husband I saw his struggle with the service he chose and the severe PTSD he did not. It is never easy to watch someone we love make an enemy of themselves and as a result…those that love them.

Through it all his ability to laugh at himself and the shit and mire he went through with his brothers was unchanged, and is what I love most about him. Bravo and I have spent many long nights talking about those he has served with, and in many ways still carries the load for. Loyal and tough, my husband has done well hiding his pain from us, but it lingers behind his smile and beautiful eyes.

As with most of the brave men he has served with the desire to remain in the fight ebbs and flows with the tide. The internal conflict between his sense of duty and the resounding effects of being abandoned by the government and civilians whose freedom he chose to fight for does not leave him. There is rarely a night that his battle goes quiet while he sleeps.

My husband decided to write down the angst bottled up over the years a long time ago but his heart had always stopped him, or the symptoms of his PTSD would be just enough to push him from the paper. When he finally dove in I was proud of him. I understood the long sleepless nights ahead would in the long run be healing…even if in the short term I knew the man I love would fight his demons all over again.

It is never easy to stand by while our husbands relive these stories, and writing them, reading them over and over takes its toll. My husband has lost years to his past and his present is once again filled with nights pacing our deck. Tears for those moments he will never share but that play like a broken record in his mind. He keeps going for his fellow men, and for those that can’t tell their own story. He has shared many things with me over the last 17 years, but to read of the life that most nights haunt him, well, truly breaks my heart…but never have I been more honored to be his wife.

I am not sharing this for what I feel is deserved gratitude for my husbands service but for the battles that never left him and for those who’s fight with combat related PTSD has ended needlessly. 22 United States Veterans commit suicide each day. In 24 hours, 22 amazing human beings will have their struggle end and for the people who love them, a new struggle begins. 22 men and women-fathers/sons/brothers, mothers/daughters/sisters die each and every day fighting with the same heart beat as my husbands. Wives like me lose their best friends and children like ours will never again get to hear their fathers laugh. Their deaths are not to be ignored and their lives still stand for those they protected even in such tragic loss. Their sacrifice is not in vain. Their beautiful souls simply couldn’t contain what they felt every moment of every day – saving those who wanted a life of freedom and choice – while seeing the very worst of humanity.

I love you my sweet husband. Do not think I don’t see you struggling tonight. I am here, always. I will never give up on you. Thank you for standing tall, and for showing me what it is to be human.

*Please take the time to watch this. Thank you.*

 

 

 

 

Because He Loves Me.

My father died the day after Easter four years ago. He was in a hospital, surrounded by those he loved, that loved him. I was not there. I was not able to hold his hand or sit with my brother while he cried for our father. I could only call from 1700 miles away and hope that my words made a difference. I was beside myself with guilt. I missed my dad. I missed being there.

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When I was a child my father took us to Grandma and Grandpas house for Easter. Ham, homemade canned cherries, black olives on each finger. Easter egg hunts, and running amuck with my many cousins, my brother. That’s what Easter should be. Memories carried throughout our lives. The memories that we want to pass on to our children.

Though it’s been so long since I went home to see my family, they are always close. A thought, a prayer away. My dad, in my mind, is sitting by a fire, enjoying the star light, drinking the worst tasting coffee known to man.

When I became a Christian it was almost unthinkable to me that any being could love me, let alone God. After having my own and very personal tragedies in this life – and living through them, I know He does. I would not be here without God keeping watch, ever waiting for me to stop running and just be still. Protecting me from the terrible choices I made, keeping me from the depths of my own hell. I had children and my eyes were opened to that love in a new way. Giving a child up to save a stranger, let alone a drug addict, teen parent, homeless pile of worthlessness, is something I would never do – but God did that for me.

So, as I sit on my deck, so blessed, knowing what it is to suffer, I’m all too aware that there is much that the world doesn’t see about me, my life. But if I could choose just one part of myself to share with you, it would be the love of God.

I won’t push it on you full court press, that’s not who I am. If you don’t believe in God or are undecided, I don’t cherish you any less, and love you just the same. I don’t preach, I just choose to live my life accepting others as God does with me every day.

No matter your faith I hope this Easter weekend finds you with family, friends, the things you truly cherish in this life. I hope and pray that you look around and see all you have. Your very little bit of heaven may be more than your neighbor has. Know that if you’re spending it alone, or maybe lost, I’m thinking of you. You have a value within that is unmatched.

Make wonderful new memories to replace the sad, lonely moments. Each day is a blessing.

Sticky Boogers & Tea Time…

Boogers. Life is filled with boogers. Boogers here, there….everywhere.

As a mom they are a tell tale sign of many things, germs and crusty faces, colds, teething, allergies. Even my dog gets boogers on me. Every morning. Because he snorts like a pig at my comings and goings, and he’s huge…so are his boogers.

I have a long and hateful relationship with said boogers. I find them all along my journey of life with anxiety. Big boogers like weekend trips, dental work and my health. Small boogies like laundry, dishes, diapers and of course…boogers.

I love my family. I love that I have dogs, a cat and many many children. I enjoy my life. I don’t enjoy the boogers that crust it up. Or slime all over it.

Current booger on my mind presently…my husbands job ending in 9 days! 9 fracking days. Nine. That’s two more days than kids we have, days of the week, and minutes until my little humans hit the pillow. What the actual f$@k are we gonna do???

(In my mind to lighten the load I often say things like this:
‘Holy food-stamps Batman! Jobless in 9 days you say????
Yes Robin, in 9 days we turn in our shark repellent and catchy phrases for unemployment checks….’)

But under that I’m all but beside myself with contemplation about needed future dental work, stocking up on laundry detergent, dry food goods and the tissues required for handling this enormous booger of a problem.

How did we get here you may ask?…Taking a line (or many?) from a fave fellow blogger I will tell you…

***If we were sitting and drinking tea (because coffee is now a no-go…) together I will probably shed a quick tear. Then tell a story about my hard working hubby and how he got screwed by a national bank chain on his contract. In February he was told they were extending said contract with the full/promised intention of finding him a full time position with better benefits, vacation, the works. March 1st rolls around and the bitches rolled over/went back on their word. Bastards.
As we sip our tea, I’d shed another tear, and then maybe you’d ask if he’d been applying anywhere…to which I would lovingly sigh and tell you he’s been having phone interviews for weeks, a few in-person meet and greets but to no avail. That’s when if I’m blessed (and I’m sure I am because I’m with you) you will hand me a Kleenex to wipe my boogers. They’d be the soft tissues with lotion because that’s what good friends have when their friends are in crisis mode.
I drink my last bit of tea, you will smile with a look of love/pity/loss of words. Hugs are given and I leave to cry in my beast of a mini-van the whole way home.***

So, just as I ponder on the end of the official cold season, the reprieve before allergy season hits me, I am blowing into my store brand tissue, red-nosed, and overwhelmed. Damn the boogers of my life. Thank the Lord I know this too will pass, and if nothing else, I can always trade in my kids Pokemon cards for Kleenex money.

Mommyland

Trying to figure out where my extreme case of exhaustion has come from I have decided to reflect on my life as a mom. Is it that I’m older and my body just can’t keep up? Is it my anxiety? My diet? Too much coffee and then too little?

*My 11 month old is crawling all over me, literally. He’s like that little monkey in those museum movies.*

Up to the wee hours with a nursing baby, then time for myself….but in reality it’s just laying awake in bed with the hubby, said baby and a dog at the feet…I couldn’t escape if I wanted to, which by the way I should try to use the restroom one more time before beddy-bye.

Where was I? Oh, exhaustion….

So putting my midnight math skills to good use I have stumbled sleepily upon the following facts —

•I have been a mom for 18 years, 1 month and 22 days.
(Not included is my first pregnancy…because I was woefully yet delightfully clueless.)
•I have been pregnant for a total of 4 years and 2 months.
•I have been a nursing mommy to my teeny humans a grand total of 7 years and 10 months…so far…
•I have been a stay-home mommy for 13 years, non-stop, no give-backs.

•In all this time my hubby and I have spent just one, yes ONE night away from all of our 7 (yes SEVEN!!!!!!!!) kids…in total, EVER. *It.Was.Glorious.*

…And there’s that exhaustion again.

On top of all of this I clean the floors, scrub the toilets, wash the butts and wipe the boogers. I change the babies, bathe the kids, cook (I admit, the hubby cooks more than I these days.) and match socks. I do dishes, and potty-train. I grow gardens of food and flowers, mow and weed…all for everyone else. Never to perfection, but with my all, and always with what is my best.

On nice sunny days there are dog walks, trips to the park. Weekends are fishing.
School days are homework+homework+reading.
There are always sports events for the kids, choir, science fairs and girls scouts. (Not all on the same days, weeks or even months…usually, *yawn*…)

So, with all that math, and my mind wandering off to a quick and needed good night, let me say to all the moms (stay home parents of all kinds) no matter what we deal with in life…I feel yuh! You’re exhausted. You do so much, which is often too much. However!…look at all you accomplish.

For bumps in the night…
Whether sick or well…
We do our jobs…
We change their diapers…
Whether hot or cold…
We play the games…
We read the books….
The love we get back is what keeps us hooked.

Thank you exhaustion. You’ve taught me much…
In this…my little bit of heaven.

The Great Divide

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. I was raised in a tiny hick town. Hay, apples, hops and cattle. If you didn’t own a pair of wranglers you weren’t from there. Even the kids that hung out at the skate park (me) owned a pair of shit kickin’ boots. There is a small university. The big to-do is the rodeo, 4-H shows, and jazz festival.
My first job was shoveling horse poop and cleaning stalls, my brothers was bucking hay. The country lifestyle was rooted deep…

When I was in high school I met a young woman named Medina. Her family is Muslim, and she was (and is) one of the most accepting, loving, joyous and vibrant human beings I have known. She was the same age as me, and we just clicked in the most ‘no labels’ kind of way. Her family was my introduction to the world of Islam, and I’m so thankful for that. My small town was void of much in the way of religious diversity. And I can count on two hands the amount of African Americans who lived there. Medina was, but I never bothered to see it as some do, as a difference. As small and closed in as we all were, the color of ones skin was not a definition or label, but a unique and wonderful addition to who one showed themselves to be on the inside.

*****

I now live in the Midwest, in a large city. Our children are being raised surrounded by amazing museums, parks, a zoo. There are no farms to be seen, no weekend horseback riding. Universities and other centers of learning are scattered between the hospitals, skyscrapers. Our home is not far from all of this, but it’s far enough that I can’t see the buildings and my kids don’t hear traffic all night. A gateway to the rest of our world…

My children are friends with a vast and unique melting pot of other little humans, all of different races, faiths, backgrounds. I had hoped that raising our kids in this place would help to resonate my own beliefs deep inside them that we are all beautifully created equals…and that we all have a place to fill that only we can. (In a city that offers so many opportunities to learn and grow.) Never was I more wrong, or so unprepared for what real racism, bigotry, discrimination looked and felt like.

Our city is at war with itself. Armored vehicles patrolled city streets, riots and the burning of people’s livelihood. Lives lost, taken. Not one person matters to the other, despite the chants that they all do…or rather should. The racial divide is astounding. The socio-economic divide is mind blowing. The fear of those with a different faith is well, scaring the hell out of me.

*****

How am I to teach my children/how can any parent teach their children to be accepting of others and themselves if we, as tall and take charge humans, can’t live without placing others below us. How can I tell my child/how can you tell your child that they are not defined by their race, sexuality, faith when the community surrounding them is smacking labels on every forehead, building, neighborhood. Help!

*****

I worry for my daughter Birdie. She will be in middle school next year. More kids, more teachers. More intolerant behavior. Her best friends are not pasty white like she is. They are African American, Vietnamese, Russian, Muslim, Christian. They are girls, boys, and a sweet child whose name is that of a boy, but calls them-self a very feminine Linda. Will this shove into her teen years take away from her acceptance? Will it put her in a position to be judged or God forbid – to judge??

I, obviously do not have all the answers. But I hope a real conversation can be started. I long for the childhood I had to be that for my daughter, her friends. I have felt the pain of judgement and intolerance of society. Though I know it’s nothing compared to hardships others face simply because they are of a certain race, sexual identity. I believe in God, and I am sure in my heart that He didn’t create us all so wonderfully, so unique…only to have it used as a means to wage war, isolate, hate. We are all capable of choosing to accept, to love, to take just one step in the right direction.

*****

Take away the labels, the wealth or the lack of, and you are human. Your choices matter, who you are matters. Taking who you are and using your choices for the uplifting of mankind as a whole, rather than a tool to divide…it matters.

Funerals and Fatherhood

Mr great-grandmother was the first dead person I remember having the pleasure to meet. Her hair was beautifully quaffed, much like the Donald’s, a little less orange. Her hands rested peacefully upon her abdomen, nails done with care. Her makeup was classically simple. Beautiful.

I walked toward her casket with my aunt, who was the ‘scary’ one. Head down so as not disturb her (my aunt) but I couldn’t wait to see inside that casket. (I was 4 or 5 years old.) Looking her over one side to the other, I touched her hands, the collar of her blouse, and buttons. Then, without thinking (obviously!!) I poked her eye, but not too hard. Yuck. Then her lips which were painted for the occasion. I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t clinching my fists, not one skipped breath. My aunt on the other hand was beside herself. She pulled me back to our seats, squeezing my hand until I almost cried. We got home and she ritually washed my fingers, cut my nails, and smacked my ass with all the gusto she could muster. Though I may on one hand have deserved such discipline, on the other I didn’t. I was after all, my fathers daughter….

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My father Thomas was a hard working man, always early and never more than a call away for those in need of his special touch. Thomas was a funeral director. Throughout my childhood he worked in the business of dealing with death. In his own youthfulness, he drove the town ambulance when the dead needed their final ride home, eventually going to mortuary school, then honing his skills at prominent funeral homes where we grew up. When I was 8 or 9, he bought out his employer and finally had his own business. Two funeral homes, along with a partner, who he loved like a brother.

It may seem odd, perhaps morbid to some that I so loved being with my dad at work. Most of my precious yet fading memories are of spending time with him, watching the patient and loving care he showed to those who had been dealt such a terrible loss, and watching his gentle respect for the deceased. I learned much watching the way he interacted with both sides of life. Humble and intentional, always the gentleman. A man of profound integrity. His employees were our family. Birthdays were celebrated there, fireworks on the roof, bonds that remain to this day.

The building itself was brick, and not like today’s buildings that are quickly raised. It was a work of art. Old, with looming shadows and majestic window frames with ivy that grew over most of the walls. My favorite time to gaze upon it was in the morning as the sun rose to greet the day, that golden hue bouncing off the dew that had gathered in its ivy leaves. It shimmered as though jewels had been placed in each crevice.

My brother and I would wander the halls. He loved the elevator, I did not. Even for me, it was too much. ( I always thought of it as a slow descending box to the depths of hell…fire and brimstone. Of course, it was just the basement.) My dad and brother would set out early in the morning, coffee with the guys, then if the sun was out it was right to work…wash the hearses, then sweep the garage while they dried in the sun. I was more involved in playtime. Racing with the casket carts, and with the garage floor so clean…those carts would literally fly. So fast that they were often out of control. Thomas never got angry unless there were people there making funeral arrangements, visiting their loved ones who’d since passed. There was a little fridge with soda, which we often raided as we ran amuck.

As I grew older, my fathers chosen profession became an embarrassment and I often found myself the butt of cruel jokes. Kids daring ‘the dead girl’ to take them along for a first hand account of death in all its doom and gloom. Asking if I ‘saw some dead guys guts.’ They assumed I liked dead people…and in comparison to the their own need for teenaged brutality, I did. A person in a casket has found their peace, their suffering has ended. The kids that tore me down were selfish and longed for me to feel pain. My dads funeral parlor offered sanctuary…none of the teenagers who bullied me followed me past the corner it stood on. They weren’t worthy, and frankly too chicken shit to follow.

I did have a friend that came in a few times, timid and always stiff as rigor mortis. She was very close to me until she wasn’t. After staying the night and my brother having bothered us all day…she had spit the largest ball of phlegm, through the screen of his window, directly ON HIS FACE. Acting like it was no big deal she walked away laughing. My little brother began to cry. I was beside myself for him. How could she? Repulsed I did what any middle-school aged girl would have…acted like I didn’t care and plotted my revenge. A few weeks later this friend walked with me to dads office, and knowing he wasn’t there I nudged her down the hallway to a viewing room. It was dark, and I told her to step inside while I looked for him. No one could wander the grounds except me or my brother, I told her. Convinced of my honesty she stepped inside. I pulled the accordion style door closed with a quickness, and turned the light on……

A scream unlike anything I’d heard came from the depths of that girls soul. Immediately I turned on the light and pushed open the door. Down the hall she went, hands covering her cheeks, sobbing. (Inside the viewing room was a VERY well aged man, in his 90’s with his casket open.) Out the door she ran, never to return…to where I’m still not sure. We never hung out after that, but I still had my honor. Nobody spit on my brother but me. Period.

In my adult years it became a place to reminisce. My father sold his funeral homes, choosing instead to finish living out his life with a vodka bottle as his best friend. I would stop in when I was visiting just to see the place. Maroon and chalky brown carpet eventually was torn out. Beautiful paintings were gone. Desks and chairs swapped out for newer models. Many of my fondest memories…gone but not forgotten. Turning the door knob to a life without, but never over.

The last time I went to the funeral home, still with my fathers name on the sign, was for his funeral. He was dressed in his go to gear…work shirt, red suspenders, notebook and pen in his chest pocket. His hands rested on his chest. He was peaceful, handsome, clean shaved. We drove 36 hours with kids and dogs to be there. The book lay out for mourners to sign. The coming and going of so many lives he had touched, now coming to show him the same respect he willingly gave, over and over, for all of them. It wasn’t traumatic. It was far from uncomfortable. It was home. I kissed him. His forehead, his cheek. I rested my hands on his. I said “Hello Daddy. You’re home again.” My brother had followed my fathers footsteps, and in true form, was there to greet me. We both knew it was a perfect ending to his life. To be where he was at his best. My eyes met with my brothers and in that moment everyone in the room melted away, my heart swelled with pride. Eyes filling with tears I realized, he had become his fathers son.

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