Today is a memorial service for my Dad who passed away on August 10, 2016. I won’t be attending. How he died comes with questions not answered. Danette, my stepmother, has not called me since the day after my Dad died. She did not call when I had my surgery. She did not call when we were evacuated. She did not ask my opinion or suggestions or wishes for my Dad’s memorial service. Danette only called the day after my Dad died in response to a text my Aunt sent to me and my brothers letting us know of the date of the memorial service and to let me know of the arrangements already made. She DID tell me there would be time at the end of the service for people to stand up and speak. She said would open up the floor to anyone who may want to share a story or memory of my Dad. I assume that would be my time to speak. My brothers and I have chosen NOT to go to the memorial service (which is being held at their house no less). My Dad always said “funerals are for the living. I don’t want my kids and grand-kids standing around crying that I’m gone”. We have chosen to honor him in the way he wanted.
His obituary was written and published by his wife, Danette. She included me and my brothers and another woman who claims to be his daughter. Although this woman does bear a resemblance to my Dad, she only sought to know him in her adult years beginning in February of this year. They never met and no DNA test was ever done. However, she along with my stepsister and stepbrother were included in the obituary. My Aunt rewrote the obituary to have published in the local paper in Lafayette, IN in the town where he grew up.
Dad’s obituary is not reflective of his life. I choose to honor him by telling you a few things about the man he is / was:
- He always ate all his fries before his cheeseburger.
- His favorite color is green. He hated the color blue.
- He loved Ford trucks. He drove is red Ford F150 for 15 years before buying a new, shiny charcoal Ford F150. He gave his old red truck to my daughter. It means more to her than ever now.
- Chinese food and Mexican food were his favorites. He loved ceviche with a little Tapatio and lime.
- He didn’t drink but a couple of times a year and didn’t like to see people drink or smoke. He felt they were ruining their health.
- His grandchildren melted his heart. He loved each one of his grandchildren. He also “adopted” a ton of his children’s and grandchildren’s friends and neighbor’s children.
- He loved to watch movies. All. The. Time I couldn’t tell you his favorite movie because he had so many he loved. Benny and Joon. Christmas Vacation. The Ghost and the Darkness. A Walk In The Woods. So many….
- He loved old time rock and roll. The Eagles. Bob Seger. Michael McDonald.
- He thought Celine Dion was the best female voice to ever sing. He also loved true, clear voices like Karen Carpenter and Barbra Streisand.
- His tools were his greatest treasure. He knew where every tool went in his toolbox. He always cleaned his tools after each use. Many of his tools he had for as long as 40 years.
- He always had calloused hands. Even when I held his hand in the hospital his hands were calloused. He was the hardest working man I know.
- He had a sarcastic sense of humor and loved to laugh.
- He loved motorcycles.
- He thought a man should always carry a pocketknife. he carried one my whole life.
- Most of all, he loved life! He cried the day before he went into surgery because the man in the room next to his had died the night before. I let Dad know that all the man’s family was surrounding him and loving him. He seemed comforted to know this. Unfortunately, my Dad was not given the opportunity to have his family surrounding him when he died. Danette chose to unplug life support from him without telling his children. Her wishes were not his wishes. However, I am CERTAIN that Dad knows his children and grandchildren are with him in thought and prayer every single day.
My Dad died without a will. I begged him to set up a Will, a Trust and an Advanced Directive. He did not do it. I will be sharing more of the heartache we have had to endure because of the choice he made not to have his “end of life” paperwork in order. We will need to deal with a stepmother who is not willing to speak with us or allow us to have any of his belongings. In the end, it isn’t about material items though is it? I love you Dad!