Where do I even begin?
In the weeks before my dad's death, I wrote a lot, more than I'd written in a while. It, and vast amounts of prayer, helped keep my emotions, so often on the verge of being loosed, somewhat in check, at least while I was in public. I was mourning in advance, I think. Some of that will eventually make its way here. Other portions of it - like a post about his cancer and the affect it had on him that I began with the best of intentions but then devolved into some now-confessed anger - likely will not, at least not in its entirety.
I have heard myself, in the past weeks, referred to by some as a very private person, and I suppose that's true in some ways, although I don't see myself as such. I suppose people said it because I didn't broadcast my worries and feelings, or even the fact of my dad's cancer, to the general public. In that way, I think, I am like my dad, who didn't tell some people he was ill because he didn't want to be a pitiful center of attention. Or perhaps it's a lack of trust and a fear of opening myself up. My dad could be like that, too. But sometimes, it's a combination of things. Some things are too close to be shared, at least right away.
Anyway, one thing I do need to do is say thank you. I know so many words, but in the last several weeks I can't tell you how many times I have been moved beyond them. Whenever, anytime in the future, I find myself starting to feel down or otherwise woe-is-me sorry for myself, I need to remember these weeks, and the incredible amount of love that has been poured out upon me by my friends. I have lost count of how many of you (and this doesn't even begin to include family) went out of your way to do something, even something you think meaningless and insignificant, to make my or my family's life easier, to give me solace or make me laugh. If it is even a fraction of the love the Lord has for me, then I am beyond blessed.
I know I don't even know the half of the people who prayed for me, for my family and for the repose of my dad's soul - who are still praying. I do know that they have sustained me, and helped me keep focused on dad's salvation, rather than his absence. Thomas Merton says that, one day, when we, too, are gone, we will know all who have prayed for us. Some thank yous, in that case, may be delayed. :)
But there have been so many expressions of care and sympathy, beyond the prayers:
Cards came from coworkers -- one who bought be a beautiful orchid that was waiting on my desk when I came back to work this week -- and those who chipped in for a completely unexpected cash collection that they mailed to me at my mom's house.
Cards also arrived from friends who have had or will have masses said for the family and the repose of dad's soul.
My friend Nikki from high school, who I hadn't seen in I don't even know how many years but with whom I reconnected with via Facebook, came to the funeral and took some truly lovely pictures at the graveside - something I would, had I not been focused on the moment, still never thought to do, but a gift I will cherish always.
Michele, who not only baked yummy snacks, but who charmed the Olive Garden manager with her Louisiana Southern accent into giving us a backroom and free appetizers following the viewing, and then, at the reception after the funeral, essentially pushed me bodily into a chair and stood over me, bullying me (lovingly, truly) until I forked food into my mouth, because otherwise I wouldn't have had time for a bite, being too busy trying to be a polite hostess and visit with everyone there.
Pam had my lawn mowed while I was gone so I didn't face code enforcement fines for the jungle my yard already was when I left. Kim and the I'm-still-kinda-shocked-about-the -incredibleness care package.
Julia, Sarah & Michael -- who played the most gorgeous Bach-Gonoud "Ave Maria" on his violin at the funeral mass -- who dropped everything and who came to the funeral on flying trips; I'm so sorry we didn't actually have time for a real visit.
Several friends posted goofy things on Facebook or sent me emails with funny pins from Pinterest to cheer me, or let me alternately cry on the phone or ramble aimlessly in a more-than-my-usual discombobulated manner.
Joy, who I hadn't seen in probably three or four years, chatted with me over Vietnamese one night like we were still in high school and had only seen each other the day before.
So many others texted, emailed or posted condolences on Facebook. I have so much gratitude to so many people, and if I've left you out or not mentioned you by name, I'm sorry, and it isn't remotely meant as a slight. Some will be receiving thank-you notes (because I was raised in South, and that's what we do...and because I have your addresses), but for the moment, this more general one will have to suffice.
I love you all. Thank you.