Mewsings from Lowecat (aka Indianacat)

My rants, ravings, and overall 'mewsings' on life, the universe, and everything.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Great Expectations?

Earlier today I blogged about the rough seas anticipated ahead today (Thursday) and this comin' Sunday.  Well, Sunday might still be rough for me, bein' the first Father's Day without Daddy.  Today did not live up to what I expected at all.

As you'll recall, the IN United Methodist Conference held a 'celebration of remembrance' tonight for the clergy and spouses (missionaries are no longer part of this ceremony) that had passed in the last year.  Some time before, Daddy had told me that when his time came to go Home, he wanted me to be present, as it would occur during his death year.

He felt it would bring me some kind of peace.  And maybe it will.

A year from now.

Unlike years past, it appears that there is a cut off date.  May 1 through May 1 of each year is what they work with.  That kinda makes sense.  Barely a calendar month had passed from the date of Daddy's funeral to the first day of Conference.  It is hard for family and friends of the deceased to make arrangements to be present so soon after losing a loved one.   I barely got my time off request into the schedulers on time as it was. 

The first indication I had that Daddy wouldn't be included was when the list of names was handed out.  I glanced down at the list of clergy and spouses.  Daddy's name was conspiculously absent, as I shared on the Twitters and Facebook.  I had a 'WTF' moment, but didn't say the words out loud.  After all, the list couldn't been printed up before his death.  Then I figured from the latest loss in the Conference, 16 April, that the end of April must be the cut off point for inclusion in this year's recognition. 

I was close.

There have been changes in the last few years since I found that program from 2005's service at Daddy's house.  There isn't a candle lit for the departed ministers and spouses.  Instead, one lone candle sits on an altar.  Clear pitchers of water sit on either side of a blue bowl.  When the time comes for the roll call, one of the youth members takes the pitcher of water with the departed's name on it and pours it into the bowl as a muted handbell chimes once.   The name and date of death, along with a picture of the deceased, if available, is shown on the large screens.  It is at that moment that anyone who was close to that person may stand.

Once all the names have been read, then the congregaton is given the opportunity to stand up and call out the names of their departed.  It was then that I got to call my father's name. 

All in all it was a nice service, and give me an idea what to expect next year.  I learned through that service that a minister I worked with in my Youth Ministries days had died.  He'd also been preaching at North United Methodist when I went there for a brief period.   However, it didn't bring me to the released I sought.   I'm still strugglin' with acceptance, still strugglin' to grieve.

So now, I don't have any expectations of gettin' to that release on Sunday.  But I will still talk to Daddy, and listen for responses in the wind.  Maybe their will be one, and then again, maybe not.  But I'll talk with him at that grave site.  And miss him all the more.


Thursday, June 07, 2012

Rough Seas Ahead

There are two days this week that are gonna be very difficult for me.  Today (Thursday) and Sunday. 

Today is the first day of the Indiana United Methodist Annual Conference, a gathering of clergy and lay people to discuss the postives and negatives of the year for all the different boards and councils that answer to the conference/bishop, including the Board on Ordained Ministry that Daddy once served upon. 

The start of conference usually doesn't affect me one way or the other.  It generally just means there's gonna be a lot of hot air concentrated in downtown Indianapolis Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (which might be why the weather people are forecastin' hotter weather for us!).  <OK, that's some of that dark humor creepin' in>

Tonight is their 'Celebration of Remembrance'; a nice way of referring to a mass funeral service for the clergy, surviving spouses, and missionaries of the conference who have passed on since the last session. 

You guessed it, friend reader, this will include Daddy.  And that's why this event will be a little difficult for me?  Well, it's because I'm still tryin' to deal with the feelin's brought on from the day Daddy died and the funeral in Washington.  I feel that someone from the family should be there, and ye old Lowecat is the one who will attend.  That meant gettin' approval for a half day off from work, which wasn't a problem. 

As the Queen of Sparta said to her nemesis in '300', "This will NOT be enjoyable, and this will NOT end quickly."   Anyone at work who thinks I'm gettin' off early for fun needs to walk a mile in my motorcycle boots.  They'd find out real quick that it's not fun and games. 

I've been to the 'celebration' before, but it was years ago while service on the Conference Council on Youth Ministries as a teen.  That's been a couple of years ago at the least!  But it's well done, and the family members of the departed person only have to be present, they don't have to speak.  

Like the ordination ceremonies that will be held later this week, loved ones and friends may stand up when that person is being mentioned.  In this case, it'll be Daddy's name read, and a candle lit at that moment for him.  

I think I can handle standin' for that.  

What will be hard will be acceptin' the condolences of those ministers and lay people who knew Daddy and want to extend such.  At least at the funeral service, there was back up.  This time, it's just gonna be me, myself, and I.  No back up for when things get a little rough.  Have no worries about gettin' emotional, cause I'm still numb (unless someone pisses me off, then I can feel anger, but otherwise, meh has definitely taken root).

What I don't think is gonna be easy to handle is Father's Day this comin' Sunday.  Not because I'll be back at his house (it's still hard to consider it my brother's house) to do more organizin' of things and packin' away clothes and such.  

That's the easy part these days.  This will be the first Father's Day without him, and comes so soon after he died.  It's gonna hurt like the proverbial thorn in the lion's pawpad.  

It's possible that the grave marker will be installed by then.  If not, that's fine.  They'll get it in when they get it in.  If the dried, dead flowers from the funeral are still covering the grave, it's my intention to remove 'em.  They served their purpose, but why leave them for someone else to dispense with if I can take care of it? 

Like during Memorial Day, I plan to talk to him, fill him in on what's been goin' on.  Let him know he's missed and loved.  A time of communion.  I might get a plastic rose or two to leave at the grave, since roses were his favorite flower.  Things that will be comforting to yours truly and maybe his spirit will recognize.

They (whoever 'they' are) say that these so - called dates of note - Father's Day, birthdays, and other important holidays - will become less heart breaking as time passes.  I hope they're right.  At the moment, the idea of a Father's Day without him doesn't feel palpable. 

There's still uncles on both sides of the family and DH's father to recognize and share the day with.  I haven't forgotten them.  It's just hard to think of them when Daddy's not around to be recognized, too.

Thinkin' about Father's Day reminded me that while straightenin' up the library, I came across a pile of Father's Day cards from yours truly.  He'd kept a large number of the ones I sent to him durin' my adulthood.   One of the most poignant ones was a dark red one with gold etching on it.  The picture was a tall sailing ship on the sea. 

I can't think of the verse, but what I wrote stands clear in my memory:  'I'm glad I FINALLY understand what you were tryin' to tell me all this time!'