- Even though my dad claimed to hate the apartment he and MJ made into their home in Buffalo, leaving it was emotional for him.
- There was a lady who worked at Tim Horton’s (a coffee shop) who moved me to tears. She took Dad’s coffee order every morning and got to know him well enough to ask about Mary Jane and have his order ready without asking him what he wanted. When we visited Tim Horton's to say goodbye, she came from behind the counter to give my dad a huge hug. They exchanged addresses (for Christmas cards) and she wished him well. People like her restore my faith in humanity.
- I missed The Husband something fierce while I was away. Especially when I watched my sisters-in-law giving comfort to my brothers. He needed to be home with our kids, and I knew that, but I missed him, and would have welcomed his arm around me or the soft grasp of his hand. And I'd have sold my soul for one of his back rubs. I took this photo of my sister-in-law (this is Kim, who helped me all week) and my brother as we visited Niagara falls. It encapsulates the sadness and beauty of the week perfectly:
- I am a control freak, but I feel like I did a decent job of controlling those control freak tendencies. (Don't laugh at me, Kim. I could have been so, so much worse!) I learned that if it will ease tension or give someone comfort, letting go of that control is worth it. Even if you want to take charge of a situation so badly that you have to stuff your hands in your pockets and bite your tongue clean off to keep from acting upon your irrational control freak urges.
- Writing a eulogy is hard. I know how to write, and can usually ramble on about any subject fairly well. But I felt pressure while trying to create our family’s official goodbye to someone we loved very much.
- The song “Me and You” by Kenny Chesney will make me cry from this day forward. It was played on the day of Dad and MJ's wedding and at my step-sister’s funeral in January. It was played again for MJ at her funeral, as a dedication from my dad.
- I didn’t know my two step-brothers and step sister-in-law all that well before this craptastic year, but I left New York knowing that I will miss them very much. I hope we can stay in touch. Here is a photo of all of us, taken after the funeral luncheon:
The focus of the past week has been to make sure my dad is doing ok. Kim and I spent every minute of our trip to New York making arrangements, comforting him, and trying to ease his pain. When we got home, after the longest drive of my life (we were dumb and drove straight home, 14 hours through the night) Brother Z and I got Dad settled into his home. When I finally stumbled into my own house, weary from my trip, the kids went to school and I was all alone. I wanted to crawl into bed and let sleep carry me away into welcome oblivion, but it was the first time that my mind allowed me to confront the reality that Mary Jane is really gone. Instead of succumbing to sleep, I began to grieve.
I will miss her loud, clear laugh. I will miss her thoughtfulness. I’ll miss getting text messages from her. I’ll miss the way she and my dad giggled together like teenagers.
She became a part of our family almost seven years ago. I have no idea why God chose to bring MJ and my dad together when they lived 900 miles away from each other only to tear them apart a few years later. It makes no sense to me. But that’s not for me to understand. She is gone, she is missed, and we are all grieving the loss of a true ray of sunshine.