Our Dad died earlier this month while we were in California celebrating my sister Kristin’s wedding to Alan. The news came as a surprise and without any notice; we were forced to mourn the death of our father while celebrating a new brother-in-law. The trip out west turned out to be a blessing. My brother Mike and I were able to mourn, talk and collect our next steps together while being surrounded by family that loved and supported us. The following week proved to be difficult, sad and healing all at the same time.
The memorial for Dad was celebrated this past weekend in Jacksonville, FL., a familiar place for Dad, surrounded by loved ones who lived there. We chose to honor Dad with a small memorial service on the waters of Jacksonville. The boat was the perfect size and the captain and his wife (dear friends of my sweet Auntie Carol) welcomed us and allowed us to roam the decks until we anchored for our “goodbye." The day was sunny, the dolphins were out in the water playing, and the emotions were high. As we gathered around a table in the back of the boat, my brother Mike started us off. Although the words were difficult as first, we managed to explain our choice of venue, and talk about our father. Mike's precious face was red with tears as he honored Dad with his words. Mike has been a solid rock through this process and I was so proud of him as he spoke from his heart.
Others followed, honoring Dad by sharing beautiful memories. Isabelle read a touching poem, Joe threw a golf ball with Papa’s name on it into the ocean, Emily and Andrew recited Psalms 24 and William, well, he was busy being William!
We laughed, we cried. We were family, honoring a loved one that was missing from the fold.
The moment those ashes hit the water, my heart sank and a little piece of me went into that water as well. Saying good-bye was so hard.
Healing: I saw a glimpse of His plan in all this sorrow. God moved and I cried out for Him to reveal His glory. And He did. I saw glimpses of forgiveness, restored love, relationships brought together, understanding and a commitment to live life through the lens of eternity. This was the biggest love note I could have received.
Death also brings others alongside you so you don’t have to deal with death alone. Whether it was my immediate family, church members, bible study girls, friends, school moms, college roommates or distant colleagues, I felt surrounded by prayers and lifted by incredible support. I can’t help but think that this part of God’s plan is sweet music to His ear.
I will miss my daddy.
Kim's eulogy's to her father...
Michael was my daddy
Michael was my dad. Our history goes way back. 43 years to be exact. There is no way I can pull out a few special memories in a very short 43 years. But let me expand on how dad made a little girl feel when I was around him.
I said this the day he died and I will say it again. Every little girl needs her daddy. My journey through life is no different. My dad didn’t know what to do with girls. And he didn’t discriminate. Big girls or little girls. He had no clue really (God bless him). Despite himself, there were certain things my daddy did that filled that need in my heart to be daddy’s little girl. His warm hugs, his big smile. The uncensored compliments he would share with strangers and would allow me to listen. His smile that would warm my heart as he would profess how much he loved me. His all too familiar mannerisms that would make me smile with the comfort of knowing that was my daddy—chapstick, toothpicks, the click of his shoes, his familiar voicemail message that would always end with “make it a great day”. The way he said “fine”. The way he showed me off to his friends. When he’d call me early in the morning to have coffee together before the kids got up. Those times would always make me feel like daddy's little princess.
One year ago was a very special time for me. I was home about ready to pick up the kids from school. I was cleaning out my car and turned around and there was an unfamiliar car driving up my drive. As I looked closely, I caught a glimpse of my dad. And when the door flung open, and my dad got out of the car holding flowers, I melted. The boyish look on his face and the excitement in his feeble steps will be a sight I will never forget. And I pray I will always hold on to the feeling I had when he held me in his arms and said, “Happy Birthday, princess”.
William, Issy, Emily, Joe and Andrew, your Pop just couldn’t believe he had 5 of the best grandkids ever! He loved you as much as his little heart could love. And I pray you will hold on to those precious memories you have of him. Keep his memory alive so one day when your kids ask you about your grandfather, you can say without hesitation that you had a grandfather that thought the world of you.
Carol, dad loved you so much. He was so grateful for your love for him and the effort you made each morning to call him. He grew accustomed to that ritual. I saw how he would light up when the phone would ring like clock work. He needed your love and you needed your big brother!
Jessica, you were the single reason why dad stayed alive as long as he did. Your dedication, your love and your patience with the sometime grumpy one was beyond what our family could grasp. Your acts of service to my daddy was a precious gift. And I am so grateful for your faithfulness. Dad grew to respect and love you deeper than perhaps any women in his life.
I am going to miss my daddy.
My two older children have my love, respect and admiration where it concerns their father. They made him proud and gave him honor. They should have no regrets. Terr and I are deeply sorry for your (our) loss. Mom