Yesterday was my father-in-law’s funeral. Today is the day after. My father-in-law and I shared a very special bond. We were golf buddies, we were friends, and we would have made a really good Vaudeville team if we had been born earlier in the last century. He was my husband’s first, and most permanent hero. He was a delightful and delighted playmate for my kids. And today is the day after.
We are all feeling that hollowness that comes with the acknowledgement that Dad is not present any more. We are all exhausted from the grief that was wrung from us during his funeral service. We are all moving about in a void, speaking in quiet voices and walking on soft feet because we all feel so tender and vulnerable. For me, it is almost like losing my own father all over again.
I was blessed to be able to speak at my father-in-law’s service. It was my chance to share with those present who this gentle man was to me. I didn’t get this opportunity when my own father died. In fact, no one was given the opportunity to speak except my oldest daughter, and then she was presented with a poem to be read. My dad’s wife had a very specific idea in mind about the service for him, and it didn’t include anyone being able to express their own experience of this man, who was at times larger than life. My mother-in-law gave me a true gift in allowing me to do this for my father-in-law.
During the service, my oldest daughter spoke about her grandfather with love and humor. I was so proud of what she had to offer, and yet, so sad she had not been given this opportunity for my dad, with whom she shared a very special bond. In a way, though, that’s what this man gave both of us: another experience of love, and another opportunity of experiencing the kindness of a truly good man.
So on this “day after” I am holding thoughts of both of these men in a sacred place in my heart. I am remembering them and their unique expressions of love and kindness. I’m missing them both terribly, but I am grateful for having had each of them in my life for the time I had them.
And I’m hoping that tomorrow, I will hurt just a little less; that my husband will hurt just a little less; that my children will miss their grandfather just a little less. I’m hoping for the day after, and the day after, until we find a day where it just doesn’t hurt anymore.