Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hardest Day

Monday of last week was the hardest day of my life. That was the day I saw my Dad's body for the first time. I knew that would be hard going into it.
Public visitation was scheduled for later in the evening, and family visitation started an hour before that. However, Sarah, April (my sister), and I came several hours earlier to see Dad's body in more privacy. As soon as I entered the room, I sat down as far away as I could and started crying. Slowly, slowly, step by step, I moved closer to his coffin. With every major step closer, I had to stop to cry and grieve some more. It was so hard seeing his body there dead. Finally, I was able to go to his coffin. Sarah and April went out and gave me some time alone. I cried like I haven't cried since I was a little boy, and maybe not even then. Often, it was more of an angry cry than simply sadness or pain. It just doesn't seem right for him to die this soon.
At the end of the visitation on Sunday night, when everyone else was out of the room, the funeral home worker helped me close the lid on Dad's casket. I cried some more and said goodbye. I think I literally got "closure" by doing this.
Surprisingly, Tuesday, the actual funeral day, was not nearly as difficult. I felt like I had already done my grieving. Because of a mix-up at the cemetery gate, the hearse with Dad's body and about half of the funeral attendants were 5-10 minutes late arriving at the funeral chapel. When I realized that Dad was late to his own funeral, I laughed and laughed. That's just like Dad. The funeral was simple but meaningful. Several people shared memories. We laughed and cried, and the pastor's sermon included a series of "I see David ..." memories.
On Tuesday night, most of the extended family came over to our house. We ate and played games together. It might seem kind of odd to play games, but that's just what our family does when we get together. It seemed to give some normalcy to the occasion, and it helped to lighten the grief. But doing something so normal kind of helped me miss Dad less and more at the same time. I kept thinking that Dad was going to walk in the door or call on his cell phone.

Since Tuesday, we've been working on getting Mom's affairs in order. I've been sorting through old mail and trying to figure out their finances. We will hopefully meet with the bank and the investment counselor today or tomorrow.
On Thursday, we celebrated Emma's birthday. That was good for us. We (along with Sarah's parents) went to April's apartment for some cake and swim time. Many American apartments have private swimming pools. (I wish Korea would pick up on that trend!) Then, on Saturday, we went to the Houston Aquarium, which has a few amusement park rides around it. That was also fun. It has helped us to do stuff like this to find joy again.
We are all planning on leaving Houston for Korea on September 6. It will take me a lot longer to get home than it will take Sarah and Emma. I have to go through Dubai because I bought a round trip ticket from Houston to Dubai to get over here.

I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has sent your condolences and to all of those folks who are helping out with our classes this week at KNU. May God bless you for helping us in this time of need.
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