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Monday, December 2, 2013

Thoughts for the Season, Busyness, a Milestone and Remembered Love

I have been away for nearly two weeks. There is much going on and I am going to be spotty in my posting (though I have a great idea for the Insecure Writers Support Group, which posts the first Wednesday of the month).

Life has been a kind of mélange at this moment, with ups, downs, busyness and frustration.  Sorting things out, whether in the silence of my own mind or on paper (keyboard?) sets things in order.

Thoughts for the Season:
It is good to have a time where we sit back and take stock of the things that we are grateful for.  Counting one's blessings has been used as a way to deal with the doldrums for centuries, though it does sometimes lead to the thought, Yeah, well with all these blessings can someone explain to me why I'm still feeling glum?  What kind of creep am I?  In my case, I have bunch of things to be grateful for and something coming up celebrating one of those major reasons and providing some closure.

Making haste to no purpose is a good way of describing the downside of busyness.  No idle hands, but little accomplished.  We have all, I am sure, had cycles where we rushed about and fussed about and accomplished nothing.  I have been in the middle of one of those, with too much to do and not enough time.  What do I propose to do?  Ride it out.  Accomplish what I can and not fuss too much over the answer.

A milestone is approaching.  Possibly the last milestone in this series.  My father's funeral is set for a week from this coming Friday.  He died in August of 2012 and was cremated.  He was a career Naval officer who had accomplished a great deal in helping to organize the Judge Advocate's Corps'  procedures and organizations.  He never spoke of that.  He went into civilian practice after he retired and worked for many years in Philadelphia.  He was a combat veteran from World War II, serving as a radar officer (top secret technology then) on a Destroyer.

Dad died over a  year ago and was cremated.  The burial in Arlington was put off for various reasons: 1. there are a good many younger, non-cremated casualties who need to be buried there.  Dad would not have objected; 2. You have to ask for a date to be selected.  My brother forgot to do so.

Well, the interment was requested and scheduled - caissons, buglers, a band marching behind, and a LOT of family attending.  Dad would have enjoyed it.  Dad's ashes were requested from the funeral home, which has been storing it and Dad's flag, which will drape the caisson. 

My older brother, whom I privately think of as a consummate doofus, phoned my sister to tell her to ask our long-suffering and very kind neighbor across the way to check the front porch and see if Dad's ashes  had been delivered, since he didn't want anyone to run off with them.  Uh...  You directed them to deliver the ashes to ME, Chuck?  Why not our other brother who lives in the same town as the funeral home?  You think he'd be inclined to forget to bring them to the funeral?  Kind of like forgetting to ask Arlington to schedule the funeral in the first place?  Did I mention that you're a Doofus?  I did?  Well, it bears repeating, Doofus!

I arrived home from Thanksgiving after a long, grueling drive to discover that a package was, indeed, sitting on my front porch.  My sister opened the box, which was surprisingly heavy, and saw, inside, the flag, folded into a triangle (as we had done for years) and a small box, perhaps 10" square.  "Dad's in there," she said.

Well, currently what is left of my father's body is residing in my garage along with his flag.  It will be taken along to Philadelphia and then to Arlington in two weeks' time.

The milestone is coming up.  People talk of 'closure', and while I haven't been stewing over the fact that the funeral wasn't scheduled (Dad wouldn't have been, either), it will be good to have a public acknowledgment of his quality as an officer.  And yet -

If the funeral had not been scheduled as it was, I would still be acknowledging all the ways Dad influenced me.  Not a day has passed that has not brought with it something that gives me a reason to be very thankful that that man was my father.  He had a temper, he could be very pointed, and he was known to yell at us kids (never saying anything demeaning or insulting), but he always rang true, and everything he did for his children he did out of love.  Military families had access to 'free' medical care (a quid pro quo for the unrealized fact that if you are in the military you are on duty 24/7, no excuses.  Well, we went and got free shots - but when my family moved to a new town, Dad looked up the very best pediatrician in the area and took us to him or her.  (Now I am remembering the time I did NOT want a shot and fought the doctor, tooth and nail, and scornfully rejected the proffered lollipop after I lost the fight.  Dad said I was stubborn.  Hah!  I was all of six years old...)

Love remembered never leaves us.  It keeps affecting us and we reap its benefits all our lives.


  1. Thanks for sharing some of your father with us. I hope you have a safe trip to Arlington, and that the ceremony helps you and your family as you continue to process your grief. (((hugs)))

  2. Hi Diana .. yes I agree with Lara - thank you for sharing your father with us - and I'm so pleased he's being recognised for his work in the War. The servicemen and women of that era are often so unrecognised, and were self-sacrificing in their labours ... we are so lucky to be alive now and to be able to learn more.

    I do hope Friday is a peaceful, noble ceremony for you all ... it will be memorable and you'll learn more about your father's deeds for his country and family ..

    I'll be thinking of you - Hilary