Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Day Never Forgotten

Sunday March 23rd is a day I'll never forget...for once in a long time the sun was shining here in the KY and it was looking to be a beautiful day.
UK was playing that afternoon and that meant I was getting out of the house while Matthew cheered on his CATS.
Unfortunately, some of the most devastating news came around 3pm that afternoon.
I'm not sure I'll ever forget that day and exactly what happened...
I had just arrived at Home Goods to do a little redecorating shopping and barely got into the store when I got a call from my parents...
My Godfather had suffered a massive heart attack and was dead.
I ran out of the store and somehow made it to my car all the while telling my parents NO...not believing a thing they were saying.
There was absolutely no way he was gone.
Not if I had anything to do with it.
I was in complete and total denial.
I couldn't breathe and I could comprehend that this man was no longer going to bend halfway over to hug me; compensating for the foot and half of height he had on me.
He was no longer going to be there to greet me with a "Hey".
He was no longer going to tell me stories of his travels and teach me about whatever was on his mind while visiting.

I remember nothing about driving home, but I some how made it safely and collapsed the minute I walked in the door.
It took about 5 minutes for Matthew to even understand what I was trying to say.
My body was numb and I was in shock.
I just went to bed.
I tried to sleep; hoping to wake up it all being a dream, but I was slowly reminded by the phone calls and texts, that it was 100% reality...

At 61 years of age, my Godfather was gone....someone who has been in my life since the day I was born.
Someone who I've celebrated many birthdays, holidays, graduations, weddings, and other major events in my life.

Someone who I couldn't wait for my kids to get to know....
Someone who truly has made an impact in this world and has touched more lives than I could even begin to count.
Someone that was an amazing example of a man.
He loved with everything he had and his smile could light up a room...seriously.
This man put everything into his family.
His wife, his daughters, his grandkids, and extended that family to his friends.
Blood didn't matter; we were family and he always made us feel that way.

My family headed up to Crystal Lake, IL on that Wednesday.
I've never been more thankful for an extremely busy two days at work because otherwise, I'm not sure I would have made it through those days.
Matthew and I headed up in one car, my parents in another, and Chelsie and the boys in a third.
Barrett flew up later that week.

From left: Becky(daughter), Dave, Melissa(daughter), and Bonnie(My Godmother)

The visitation was Thursday afternoon.
We were able to go early and have out private moment to say our goodbyes before others flooded in.
Let me tell you that was harder for me than I thought.
I've been to funerals of people that i've loved deeply.
But this was just a bit different.
I wasn't ready, I wasn't prepared, I had no idea we would lose him this early....
I didn't want to see him because I didn't want to have to accept the reality of it.
Let me tell you, from the moment the doors to the funeral home opened to the 'public', for FOUR hours straight, the line was out the door...
If that doesn't give you any idea of the lives this man touched, I'm not sure what will...and I have no doubt if they kept the doors open all night it would have went all night.

I spent the next 4 days trying so hard to accept it. Understand it. Believe it....

Friday morning was the funeral and my Godmother had asked me to do a reading.
It was an honor to be able to stand up and be a part of that memory.
I barely made it through, but I know he was smiling down on me.
After the funeral, there was a luncheon and over 100 people came to be together, celebrate, mourn, support and love all of Dave's memories.

My dad gave a eulogy...and he did an AMAZING job.
He spent the entire week editing, changing, revising, adding, deleting and perfecting what he was going to say and it came out flawlessly. He spoke of exactly who Dave was and what he stood for.
He brought up memories that made people smile and laugh; all while crying at the same time.
He was his best friend...for over 30 years...you don't ever get past that loss.

From left: Dave, my dad, Don(Dave's brother), and Rich (Dave's other brother) 

It makes my heart hurt that both my mom and dad have lost their best friends at such young ages.
It's just not fair...

It was really nice to be able to be there to support my Godmother, her two daughters, son in-law and grandkids.
They are my sisters and family and I adore them.
Those kids are incredible and to have to experience that kind of loss at 8 years old just brings me to my knees.
They both put something in his coffin and know that their grandpa will be looking down on them for the rest of their lives.
It just seemed to take a little longer for everything to sink in for them and it absolutely broke my heart at the moment it did.

It's been two weeks and two days and to be honest, I'm still having trouble believing he's really gone.
Seeing him and celebrating him and saying goodbye to him just doesn't feel right or real.

I want to take his families pain away...I want to be able to pinch them all and snap back to 'reality' where he's still with us, but I can't.

And so we all are dealing with the loss in our own ways and that's OK.
It opens your eyes and changes the way you think about life.
I have had my handful of shower cries, breakdowns and smiles from remember him.
And I know my last one wasn't my last, but I also know that I'll slowly start to be able to celebrate and smile when remembering and talking about him.

You don't always get second chances and you don't always know when your last day is going to be.
Yeah sometimes life sucks, but you have to start making the most of it and cherishing moments that make you happy.
It's just not worth dwelling and sweating the small stuff all the time (Yes, I am guilty of this).
Make sure you tell everyone you love that you love them....often.
And mean it.

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