Traveling back to Kansas after dad passed, was kind of surreal. Going back to his roots, and mine, when it still didn't feel "real" yet that he is gone.
Even as I blog this today, it doesn't feel real that when we get back to Florida, he won't be there waiting for us. I just don't even have the words to begin to explain......
Anyhow, there are a lot of extra details when a body is being transported across state line, so lots of prayers were going up for the flight dad needed to make to arrive in time for his service, despite snow and paperwork delays. (not dad, his empty body, but you know what I meant.)
It was an extra long 3 days home. We were are emotionally and physically worn out. Once we arrived, we basically hit the ground running, planning the service and preparing for the viewing and about a bazillion details that I had forgotten about. All the while praying paperwork would go through in time for dad's body to arrive in time for service, which would take place right before Christmas, on the 22nd.
Then I get the call we had been praying for....
Your dad safely arrived at the airport last night at midnight, and our guys were able to pick him up without delay.
How strange, to hear those words, without the rush of anticipation of a lovely visit from Papa, flying in to see us for a bit. I promptly burst into tears.
It was such a blessing to be back home and surrounded by family and friends willing to bring in meals, run errands and help with details. Not cooking when you are emotionally drained, is a gift! Even if it was PB&J, it'd taste better if someone else made it. Haha ;)
My dad has raced since he was 19. He raced corvettes, modifieds, drag racing and then when I was a kid, dirt track racing in a sprint car. He has always been 7B, and he won many national championships.
Because of this, it was only natural that we select the verse for his service to be:
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." II Timothy 4:7
We had asked Dad's friends and race crew chef, to do some custom painting on dad's casket. We had it made by a local Amishman and got to pick out the interior fabric.
My dad would've LOVED it....
I asked Jesus to let him peek down on it.
Many many hours were spent first taking it from oak to black and then hand painting the details, just like they used to on the racecar.
We had a private viewing at the funeral home, just the family, before the public viewing that night. Everything turned out just beautifully! Flowers and all.
It was very very emotionally to see him again. Chad's kids were full of questions about Papa and his race car he was in. It was precious. Mine were tearful, they knew he was gone, but you just cannot prepare for the finality of these moments.
Dad would've loved the viewing, all his race buddies, family and friends, coming out to pay their respects and honor his life.
We had a slideshow running, of dad's life and all the happy memories we made....
We were there from 5 to 8pm, and when the final guest left, it was time to lock up, go home and prepare for the hardest day yet. The day we lay him to rest....the day I had to stand up and try to put into words, all this special man meant to me. To us.
To honor him in a celebration of a life well lived.