Saturday, October 30, 2004

Back Home Again
We have returned home from Indiana and my dad's funeral. I have experienced so much in the past week, I don't know where to begin. I guess I'll start from the beginning.

My dad died Friday night (October 22). I was on the way to the nursing home when he died. Despite his decline during the past month I thought he was getting better, so I wasn't expecting the end to come Friday. But it did. Hospice arrived shortly after I did, and I can't begin to tell you how helpful they were.

Saturday I made arrangements all day while James packed. Some wonderful friends came by with dinner and lots of snacks for our trip. What a blessing. We were ready to go by 8:00 p.m., but too tired to drive. We slept and then left at 3:30 in the morning. The drive to Indiana was 14 hours. After the boys went to bed, I went to see my brother.

Monday was spent making more arrangments for Tuesday's funeral. I was so thankful for my relatives, who helped me remember what I needed to get done and even helped me get some of it done. Margaret was there for advice, Carol for hemming, David for errands, and Woody to make phone calls. I am blessed with a loving and supportive family, I can tell you that. I know some people experience arguments and pettiness during such stressful times, but not me. I got nothing but love and affirmation. Joy.

Tuesday was the funeral. Up until the funeral began, I was questioning whether I did the right thing by taking my dad's body to Indiana. He hadn't lived there in 40 years, after all. But as the funeral home filled with relatives and friends far beyond my expectations, I became certain I had made the right decision. There were many relatives I had never met, but I could see part of me in there faces. And they came. They came. What an honor. They came.

Among the friends and relatives was my best friend Meg, who came from Chicago to be with me. We have been friends for 30 years. It was a great comfort to have her there.

Northern Indiana has a strong hold on my heart. Although I have never lived there, it is home. No other place is as beautiful to me. The fields are always the same. The fall colors are incredible. I can walk anywhere in town and, when I do, I pass by house after house full of memories. Grandpa Roger lived there (he had a top I loved), Grandma Josie lived there (she kept the marbles in the closet behind the vacuum), Aunt Jean and Uncle Frank lived just down the street from Grandpa Keith and Grandma Norinne, behind them lived my Grandma and Grandpa Wilson. Then, just a few blocks away on the corner of the town square, lived Grandma Hazel. If I need help "in town," I can stop in any shop or office and tell them who I am and they'll help me out. I usually go to Sharpe's because the shop owner went to school with my mom and is always delighted to see me.

After the funeral I drove around in the country where my dad used to take me for drives in his Pontiac convertible. I headed east past the lime quarry and into the farmlands where my parents were reared. The roads are now paved, but I imagined the gravel road and the wind (and lime) whipping my hair around. My dad always drove too fast. Even in the country, there are memories in so many of the houses I pass. This is home.

In Indiana.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you were comforted by all of your family being in a familiar place. I know the drive must have been so hard on you and yours, but how wonderful that it was the right place to be.

I'm so touched that your friend came in from Chicago. I want to be a friend like her.

Angi L.

9:48 PM, October 31, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well,I hope you understand now why I felt compelled to move to this town. I feel the same feelings as you. I hope you can visit again soon. LOVE your brother....

9:16 AM, November 01, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No doubt about it -- Indiana was the right place for your Dad's final resting place. You have an incredible family, and everyone made me feel as comfortable as though I was one of their own. It's no wonder you keep going back to visit, nor why your brother returned on a more permanent basis. I'm certain that your Dad is happy to be "back home again" too. -- meg

9:33 PM, November 04, 2004  

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