My father passed away on Monday after many years of pain and suffering. He was a kind and gentle man, who worked hard and loved his family so very much.

I spent the week at my parents’ home helping by cleaning, organizing and feeding all the family members who came to pay their respects and give my mother comfort. All of my father’s children came, all of his grandchildren and many of his great grandchildren were there.

My father was a veteran of the Vietnam War. He dedicated 20 years of his life to the US Air Force and his country. His funeral was with full military honors. Seeing the men and women in their uniforms carrying my father’s casket, folding the flag and the firing of the rifles were all beautiful. But hearing Taps played… was so… final … and haunting.

And when the young airman bent to hand my mother the flag that had draped my father’s coffin…

 

For most of the week, I kept busy, never sitting for long, working when others were visiting. When I left the day after the funeral, it was the first time I’d slowed down and I wasn’t doing for others. I don’t have enough distractions now to keep from thinking about all I’ve lost. It’s hard to think of the man who has been such a central part of my life, no longer there. Hold your loved ones close. Love them hard.

I love you, Dad. I miss you so very much.