Yesterday was the funeral for my dad, a day I had always hoped I would never have to witness. It came too early…at 61 he was full of life. He retired last year after working 44 years for General Motors he did not greet retirement with long days spent lying around the house he met it with long rides on his motorcycle, spending time with his 3 grand kids and singing in his Barbershop Quartets. The funeral was a fitting tribute to a great man who was obviously loved by throngs of people. There was the memorial service where his Men’s Chorus sang his favorite songs including the Irish Parting Prayer….may the road rise to meet you…..may God hold you in his hand until we meet again…..it hurt. He was buried in the Great Lakes National Cemetery like the proud Soldier he was. Full Military Honors were bestowed on him in recognition for his faithful service to his country in Viet Nam and his years spent in the U.S. Army. A 21 gun salute, the bugler played the mournful “Taps” and the stoic Army Honor Guard carried his flag draped coffin into the pavilion overlooking the lake where they folded the flag and presented it to my mom. He was a hero, not for the way he died but for the way he lived. Kind, generous, proud, strong I could go on for days typing descriptive word after descriptive word for what he was.
My family has some tough times in our future trying to come up with a way to live our lives without him next to us. My brother and I have now have to step into his place caring for my mom who only 3 months ago had her last radiation treatment for breast cancer. He cared for her for the last year like he did 13 years ago when she had a horrid battle with Leukemia. He never wavered from the fight and now we have to try to summon the strength to do the same, he would expect that from the two of us because to him family was everything.
I went for a short ride the other day just to blow off some steam and try blank out my mind if even for just an hour. Somehow the ride left me in worse shape than I was when I left. Instead of just being sad I was exhausted and sad. Perhaps riding should have been put on hold for a while but I longed for that blankness that riding provides me. That day we were supposed to meet with the Pastor who was going to give the Eulogy at the funeral. I tried again the next morning to get to the point where I didn’t have to think for a few hours…I made it to 8 miles before I felt like I was going to collapse. I was shaking and exhausted, like someone had drained every ounce of energy I had. I had doubts whether or not I could actually make it home. I contemplated calling my wife to come get me but it was 5am and she was sleeping. I think I averaged about 6 miles per hour on the return home. I hung the bike back on the hooks in the garage and have not even glanced in that direction for days. I will post when I can, when there is something to report, I just don’t know when that will be. Somehow my exhausted brain is telling my body it to is exhausted.