If anyone wants to read, here is the obituary of my dad.
Well, now the funeral is over, people have gone home (almost all), and life goes on. I'm sure you all know how that feels.
I have had people around me almost continuously since last Sunday, so the only time I am alone with my thoughts is at night, and then they don't shut off. I did sleep okay last night, but its an every-other-night thing.
Some of the people I met at the funeral home visitations were people in his past life whom I had never met. They were all full of stories about their old friend. Some I had heard before, others were new to me.
Just before he died, my aunt had given him a series of newspaper articles from back in 1948 or 1949 when he and three of his buddies went to Alaska on an adventure, describing their adventures along the way, the sights they saw, and ending with them working for the railroad for six months before coming home because they were "bored." That pretty much sounds like 19 and 20 year old boys. One of those buddies showed up at the funeral home, saying he hadn't seen my dad since they got back from that trip.
Once they got back, some of them were drafted due to the Korean war, so it was easy to lose track of people from that point on. Some of them, however, served together, along with several others in the area they lived, so they formed a lifelong bond.
When my mom died, and then when my dad had his stroke shortly after, he pretty much lost touch with his old friends and his old life. He moved from the area he had lived all his life, from the home he had lived in for 47 years, where his friends knew where he was, where he went to the same grocery store, bank, gas station, etc. he had gone to for years, a routine he started over with in his new community. Whether he didn't feel able or comfortable enough to get in touch with these people, or whether he didn't remember their names, Idon't know. If he had asked me, I could have tried to contact these people for him. It might have made his last years a little less lonely. I'm sure it is a lesson learned for his friends, what happens when you don't stay in touch. Since my dad was a loner type, I never gave it a thought about his old friends. I wish I had.
When he moved to his new community, he started over a routine of going to the same places again, so people in all those places knew him and I'm sure thought he was a sweet old man, a real character. It did seem that everywhere I took him and he came in contact with people that they all enjoyed seeing him and he enjoyed interacting with him. I called some of his doctors' offices to let them know personally, and they were all saddened and commented how much they had enjoyed seeing him on a regular basis. In fact, I had thought about the fact that once he had his last chemo treatment that he might feel lonely and not have anything to look forward to on a regular basis again.
I'm trying very hard to not beat myself up on things I should have done or wished I had done, or wished I could still do. It is what it is. It was his time, and nothing I do, say, or want will change that. I'm sure with time, my regrets will fade.
I want to thank all of you who have posted to my blog, e-mailed me, or whom I have talked to. It means more than I can tell you, and even though we are separated by miles, makes me feel close to all of you. I'll be back soon.