Sunday, October 10, 2010

How I got a black eye at my dad's wake

The memorial service for my dad was held last Saturday.  It was a beautiful morning with a Carolina blue sky, slight breeze and perfect temperature.  We met at the church prior to the service for the committal  and sprinkled Dad's ashes in the memorial garden at the church .  The memorial service was beautiful and uplifting.  I did share my blog, "Things my dad taught me", and even managed to get through it without too much difficulty.  Two of my nieces spoke as did my nephew.  My youngest brother, Doug, decided at the last minute to share memories of our dad and our family as well.  He told me after the service he realized if he hadn't he would have regretted it forever.  He did an awesome job and I know my Dad was as proud of him as the rest of us were.

After the service we all headed back to my parent's home, changed our clothes and had a great time watching college football.  Both the Clemson and LSU games were televised so it made for some interesting watching and enthusiastic comments.  We ate well enjoying pulled pork sandwiches, slaw, chips, wonderful deviled eggs as well as too many cookies.  It was a joyful celebration of our families love for Dad and each other!

As the games ended and the building fatigue caught up with me I realized it was time to gather my things and my family and head for home.  I still had one more thing I needed to do.  The funeral director had dropped off the rest of Dad's ashes at my mom's after the service.  My brother's and I had told Mom we wanted part of Dad to take with us and she was fine with our decision.  I simply needed to put some of his ashes in a Ziploc bag (no I did not come prepared with a better container), say my good byes to everyone and head for home.  Not sure of how his ashes were packaged and not wanting Dad to experience being swept up by the vacuum cleaner I decided to take the cardboard box containing his ashes outside to the patio and do my transfer there.  I quietly picked up the box, my Ziploc bag and a plastic cup and started out the door to the patio.  Here is where the trouble starts.  

After the service at the church we all changed clothes.  I put on a nice pair of black dress pants but stayed barefooted.  I was comfortable!  Two steps out the patio door my big toe caught in the hem of my pants and I was immediately aware I was going to fall holding Dad's ashes!  In the microseconds between the realization of the impending fall and hitting the ground I visualized the box of ashes becoming airborne and Dad becoming a cloud much like the one at Hiroshima.  I could not let that happen, so I held tight to the box, banged the left side of my glasses on the concrete breaking them, hit my left cheek on the ground and bit my left lower lip.  Dad was safe in my hands in the box!  My lip was bleeding, my left cheekbone was sore as all get out and swelling and I was able to put my glasses back together.  No one in the house had noticed.  I opened the cardboard box to find a sturdy plastic box which required prying open with a knife.  Inside the plastic box was a plastic bag tied tightly shut- Dad would not have gone anywhere if I had dropped the box!  I took some of his ashes into my Ziploc bag, put everything back together in reverse order and went back inside where I put ice on my lip and cheek.  My eye was already changing colors!  So that is how I got a black eye at my dad's wake.  The one thing I can be certain of is my dad was there holding his sides laughing!  I, on the other hand, kept hearing Elvis singing, "all shook up"!

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