Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dad: The Second Time of Saying Farewell

I'll try this again! I wrote this earlier and the computer somehow deleted it. Dad, are you channeling again?

We got home from work the day before our weekend began, and soon after my wife's sister called to say their father had died peacefully after a morning of good spirits and humorous interaction with the staff of his nursing home. We actually worked that night, and everyone was very supportive, with the store manager telling us we could have 3 days of bereavement leave if needed - and we took them up on it to follow our weekend.

We flew to Idaho on Thursday, offered our support and comfort to Mom, and I prepared to do the service - having learned from my beloved that my earlier offer to do the service, they refused because they thought it would be to difficult for me to do. I drew on my years of experience as a pastor, memories of my interactions with her Dad and how he helped me get through my seminary theology courses and gave insights while I was actively pastoring churches.

Our son, daughter-in-law, and grandson arrived very early Friday morning and we got some quality time with our grandson, Justin Lee. Our daughter and son-in-law arrived later Friday, and we got good time with them as well. Two of my wife's cousins came with their spouses and some good sharing happened with them as well.

The service was a mix of the serious and the humorous, using a couple of Dad's pet phrases - "Where have you been?" to start the service, "We're off like a dirty shirt." when the service was over. It caused some memories of my own father's funeral, and memories of my interactions with Mary's dad through the years.

One of the most amazing things about this man born in 1914 was his amazing openness to new insights and new science within his faith expression - open to the beginning of inclusive language shown in the beginning of table grace, "We thank thee, our Father, our Mother . . ." and his willingness to welcome persons traditionally shunned or persecuted by the church. If only more could learn to be more like Dad!

So, Dad, farewell, until we meet again! Because I have no doubt we will see one another again!