A few years ago I was standing outside the cafeteria at work when I got a phone call. "Ms. Garner, this is Allison at Herndon Funeral Home. I have your father here." My heart dropped. Funeral home has my dad? After my initial panic, I learned he was there to sign over some insurance policies; he had begun to make plans. Since I am the executor, she had some questions for me.
My dad turned 89 last month. I know my time with him is dwindling.........and I am not sure I will be able to stand it when he is gone. No one has a clue what he means to me. Since that time, Mother was under hospice for about 10 months--sent home to die of congestive heart failure. During that time, he and I discussed some more practicalities. This week he told me the two of them had gone back to the funeral home and picked out their vaults and caskets. He didn't want his children to have to think about that. So, as it now stands, everything is in place at the funeral home except Dad's pallbearers. They bought plots in 1975 after my brother's first wife died. They will be laid next to her. Mother is adamant about a simple graveside service; Dad will have a military funeral, and the funeral home knows whom to contact about that. I told him not to worry about pallbearers. I can make a simple phone call, and I know Tony will take care of it. I threw out Tom and Elton's names. It will come together. There are enough men in that church who revere my dad. It will be taken care of.
While we were on the phone and discussing this, Dad was matter-of-fact; I was a mess, though he couldn't tell it. I told him that since we are on the topic, I planned to slip this Clemson shirt into his casket. That's when he told me it was fine if he is put away in it. So, it will be. I also gave him a flannel Clemson shirt, and I will take that back and wear it.
As I sit typing this, tears are streaming down my face. Someone told me yesterday at work she didn't believe I would retire. I assured her this year is IT. I need every moment I have to take care of/spend with my parents.
A father's love can not be underestimated-=----neither can a daughter's............