Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cinderella at my Dad's Graveside

2015 was going so well.  So many wonderful, monumental things happened.

And then the phone rang at 5:30pm on December 17. 

 And my dad was gone.  Just like that.  

I always thought there would be decisions to be made.  About skilled nursing or nursing homes.  
Or medication or treatments.  
Or plugs 
or switches.

But there was no decision to be made.  

I want to say thank you to all of you who sent cards, brought food, sent flowers, called, 
prayed for us, came to the funeral, kept us in your thoughts, messaged us, 
shared memories of my dad.  

I keep a pile of your cards next to my bed.  And before I go to sleep I hold them in my hands and think about how blessed I am.  

Blessed to count you all as my friends.

Blessed to have my sisters and my mother around me as we grieve my dad.

Blessed to have been Joe Parsons' daughter.  

Blessed that I didn't have to make choices on my dad's behalf.  
Because those choices?  
There's never a great one.  
You're just trying to find the least bad among a series of 

Normally at a funeral the family accompanies the casket to the grave and the pastor says a few words and friends come by to give their condolences.  And then the funeral director gives a gentle nod and everyone gets in their cars and leaves, and the cemetery workers then lower the casket into the ground and cover it with dirt.  
The family isn't expected to be there for that part.  
It's painful.

But what I love about my sisters and my mom is that we all wanted to stay and watch as my dad's casket was lowered into his grave and buried.  

So after all the guests had left, we stayed by Dad's grave and waited for the cemetery workers to come and do their part.  

While we waited, my niece Bliss was playing with a sheet of Disney princess stickers.  
I asked Bliss if she would want to put some stickers on Popo's casket and she said yes.  
So we peeled stickers off the sheet and stuck them on the side of the casket.  
Bliss put a sticker of Belle and Cinderella on the casket.  
And several balloon stickers.  
I chose an Ariel sticker, and I spelled out his name "Popo" in silver and white sparkly letters.  
I put those at the end of his coffin where his head was.  

And I guess when I think about it, that was a choice.  
I chose Ariel for my dad.  
And I chose silver and white sparkly letters that spelled out his name.   

I chose what my dad would have chosen.  
Given the choice to have fun or not, my dad would always have fun.
My dad would have loved the idea of us putting stickers on his casket.
He would love that we found an opportunity, amidst all the sadness, to be playful.

But then, 
just when I'm feeling good about stickers on my dad's casket, 
my grief takes over again.  
It reminds me that when you're choosing stickers to put on your dad's casket, it doesn't matter 
if you pick Ariel or Belle or a million balloons.
It's still your dad's casket.