My last blog post was September 6 and I was whining about how hard the year had been and blah, blah, blah. Little did I know.
On September 28 my dad was admitted to the hospital for what they initially thought was a mini-stroke. It turned out to be a brain tumor – an especially aggressive form of brain cancer. He and my mom are very private people and I respected that during my dad’s valiant fight. My dad lost his battle on January 26, 2016 – four days after his 75th birthday.
My mom, my sister, my brother, Mike and I all had time to let my dad know how much he was loved and he was able to do the same for us. All of the grandchildren had time with him as well. My dad received amazing care from some of the best doctors, nurses and caregivers out there.
On February 7, we had a small family service to inter my dad’s ashes. In death, as in life, my dad wanted no fuss. We’re pretty sure he had a hand in the service. It was a brutal 45 damp, Florida degrees that morning. We shivered and cried and laughed and cried again. It was like he sent the cold to tell us, get it over with and go get warm.
That afternoon, my mom hosted an open house. We were not sure what to expect. WOW. So many people were touched enough by my dad to come spend time with us. It was a bittersweet but lovely afternoon. My dad would have been shocked. There were people of every description – each with a story and a hug for all of us. In all, it was a fine goodbye.
We are all going to miss him – my mom most keenly. My parents celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary this past summer. For now, we’ll just all cling to each other and get through each day.
This is the poem my mom had Ian read at the service. It was just perfect.
Death is Nothing At All – Canon Henry Scott Holland
(for John Tunney 1/22/41 to 1/26/16)
Death is nothing at all . . .
I have only slipped away into the next room . . .
I am I and you are you . . .
whatever we were to each other that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone; wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect, without the ghost of a shadow on it.
Life means all it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was; there is absolutely unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am just waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner …
All is well.