The memorial celebration on Sunday was beautiful, and painful, and wonderful. I have never felt so loved in all my life. I started the day with the radio tribute show, which was a lot of fun. Then lunch with friends from out of town. Then a quick nap and off to the memorial to get everything set up. We had way more people than we had anticipated, but the staff at The Boar’s Head Inn were wonderful and brought in more chairs for us. Mom and I each spoke, then we asked for anyone else who wished to say something to speak. I’ve seen that go badly before, where everyone is afraid to say anything. But we cheated and sprinkled a few people in the crowd who were prepared to say something, and that got the ball rolling. And it kept rolling. It went on for about an hour. Seriously. People just wanted so much to express their love for my dad. And several people talked about how he had mentored them when they were younger. That theme kept coming up, along with stories about how he’d make people laugh. There were a few tears, especially during the slideshow after everyone finished telling their stories, but overall, it was a powerfully positive moment in my life. Plus, we followed it all with a jazz jam session, which was joyful and raucous and perfect.
My biggest fear had been that I would only remember my dad as he was with dementia, but the stories people shared at the service started to replace some of the traumatic memories from the last few days of his life. There was just so freaking much love in that room. My dad would have been so proud at all the lives he touched. I was proud for him.
A friend videotaped the service and is working on editing it together. Once I have it, I’ll post it on here (probably on Sunday) so that friends and family who couldn’t make it can still watch it and get some closure.
I can’t thank everyone enough for wrapping my family up in love this past weekend. The wounds are starting to heal already.