Father's Day was difficult. It's been less than a month since my father passed away.
I've learned that there are many who have crossed this bridge. Their kind acts and service have lessened the pain of losing a father.
I left Missouri for Pennsylvania. While traveling I received phone calls, emails, and face book posts, expressing love and prayers for our family.
Everything happened so fast.
When I walked into my Mulberry Street home, I could see that my siblings had been working very hard.
My father's hospital bed was gone from the living room, along with his medical supplies and hospital equipment. The living room was as it was 10 years ago, before the day of his stroke.
The shelves of Gevity, gloves, bed pads, and Depends were empty. The Hoyer lift was gone. Most had been donated to charity.
The house was spotless. My siblings had done much to help mom.
My sister Laura had taken the lead with the funeral some time ago. The funeral home, cemetery, and headstone had been selected and paid for.
The siblings had also planned the visitation and funeral service. My assignment was to prepare some display boards about daddy's life.
Mom had decided that the oldest grandsons in each family were to be pallbearers.
It was sad to see my mom, who had aged. When I spoke to her, she mentioned several times that she could not hear me.
Friday, the day of the funeral, quickly arrived.
Bishop Zerbe presided at the funeral, as he lovingly welcomed a chapel full of friends and family. A great-grandson played the organ. The sons-in-law had been asked to offer the opening and closing prayers, the family prayer, and the dedication of the grave.
Mom had pre-selected the songs, “I Need Thee Every Hour” and “Come Come Ye Saints.”
The life story was given by my brother Thad. He did such a wonderful job. I was so proud of him. Daddy had to be pleased.
At the conclusion of the life story, Thad bent down next to the podium and picked up a large bouquet of red roses. He leaned over and handed them to my mom, sitting on the chapel front row and said, “These are from dad.”
This was a touching moment.
Following Thad, I was honored to read each of the sisters' memories of dad.
No one knew how hard I cried 40 years ago when I moved away from home. It broke my heart to live far from family. Family means everything to me.
After dad had his stroke I could rarely help with his care, living so far from home, and having Kelsey. I couldn't talk to him, like my siblings could. It hurt inside to not be able to care for him.
Over the past 10 years, I had repeatedly thought about what I wanted to say to my father at his funeral. I knew he would be free from a crippled body and could hear and understand me.
It was a satisfying, wonderful experience. I am eternally grateful to my siblings for allowing me to express what was in my heart and read their thoughts.
Two musical numbers were sung by the grandchildren and great grandchildren, “You Are My Sunshine” and “I Am a Child of God.”
A Gospel message was given by my parents' home teacher Barry. Barry had visited my parents faithfully, every month, for more than 10 years. My father and mother loved him.
Then, Bishop Zerbe and President Smith shared closing remarks.
I'd like to conclude with a small part of daddy's obituary.
Throughout his life, he was a very compassionate person who cared for others. He had a great and unique sense of humor and was known as the Mayor of Mulberry Street. Harold will forever be remembered, sitting on a lawn chair in front of his home showing neighborly kindness to all who passed by.
I will see you again daddy. I love you.
Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County’s Family Week Foundation. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org .