Well, maybe not "just." I spent a week making decisions, taking care of financial matters, calling the funeral home when they weren't calling me like they were supposed to, getting Dad's suit outta the cleaners, stressing, not sleeping, etc. I still have a few things left to do in relation to his final checks from his pension and SSA, and then one more piece of paperwork related to letting life insurance pay the funeral home directly.
Everyone said the service was beautiful. My aunt bought her flowers yesterday, and we chuckled because she picked the same color theme that I picked for the flowers from us kids and the grandkids. We had so many cards and flowers from people that I haven't talked to or seen in years. My eFriends from Twitter sent a beautiful bouquet, but the florist was on CP time and didn't deliver until after the service. How that happened, I don't know. But they made sure to bring the flowers to me at the repast. We have so many cards! We'll be sending out "thank you" cards for a minute.
Not that I wasn't proud of my dad before, but in the midst of all the tears and sadness, it was nice to hear people get up and talk about the impact of his life. How he had one of the first black owned grocery stores in Syracuse. There was another business owner there, who talked about how he'd known my dad since he moved to Syracuse...and how way back when, they both talked about starting their own businesses. And they both went on to do it. Choir members talked about how much they would miss singing with him. How they would see him walking to choir rehearsal and they'd offer a ride, but he'd refuse.
If you recall, I mentioned that my dad sang "In The Garden" at my grandma's funeral just 3 weeks ago. I had mentioned to the deacon that I'd like for the choir to do that song. Unfortunately, he never passed along that message. When the head musician came up and asked me if we'd mind if the Men's Chorus (my dad sang with them, too) did a number, I told him that would be fine. Then I asked him about the song. He said he didn't know. Instead of singing, he played it as a prelude before the first prayer. That was ok with me. I could hear my dad singing along, anyway.
And apparently, the Men's Chorus has not sung together in years (they made changes to all the choir line ups) and decided to get back together to honor my dad. The last song they sang was one that he used to lead. Well, apparently he just started leading it recently. The head musician told me a story about how my dad told HIM that he auditioned to sing lead on the song 20 years ago, and the keyboardist told him he couldn't sing it because he had a "tremble" in his voice. LOL! Robert (keyboardist) said he didn't remember telling him that, but that Dad remembered it 20 years later. He had a sharp mind - so I'm betting the story is true. After all, remember the previous blog about his ring. :)
The pastor preached about Dad having his own business and the struggles that business owners go through, and how sometimes the only thing they have to cling to is their faith. Maybe they make a decision that they're not sure of, and they start to doubt. But they have to have faith that it was the right thing and that their business is meant to be. I believe my dad had that faith. Unfortunately, a bunch of factors in the 80s (including Reagan-omics) lead to the demise of his second store (the first one burned in a fire).
People ask me all the time, why don't you sell your body butter mixtures full time, or start a natural hair care business. Having earned my MBA, I'm aware of the size of that undertaking, and it scares me. Not to mention, needing to have a better grip on my finances. And then I think, "my dad did it with a high school diploma. And he did it twice." Something to mull on, I guess.
We had a nice turn out for the repast, and an abundance of food. So much, that we have pans of food that we've had to stuff into my mom's 2nd fridge in the basement. Somebody needs to come help us eat this stuff. I feel really blessed that my aunts came up from Savannah. I feel closer to them somehow. Which seems sort of backwards, but in 2011 I need to do a better job of keeping in touch with them. We are my dad's legacy, and we need to keep the family connected.
Everyone is home, or on their way home, now. I think we're all reflecting on the day in our own way. It's hard to believe I've only been here for 13 days. It seems like much longer. A lot has gone on in the past 3 weeks. I'm sure there will be a lot more tears, but also laughter and smiles as we reminisce about Dad. LDR even got up and told the story about Dad and his ring at the hospital. That made me smile. They had some kind of connection in that short time they knew each other. I can tell that Dad really liked him.
I think now, Dad is smiling down on us. I think he's proud of all 5 of his kids. And I don't think we said anything about him today, that we hadn't told him before he passed. Just like with my grandma, we are his legacy. We're going to do our best to carry on.