Gail was laid to rest in resurrection Cemetery this afternoon. The funeral mass was wonderful, John's sharing captured his mother to a T, the procession to the final resting place was long and winding, the weather was a bit overcast but very warm, the reception afterward was well done with many many memorable sharings and the emotion of everything consumed all of my stamina.
From where I sit in the living room I can see most of the memories on the fireplace mantel. The gold cross that I purchased for Gail in Italy, the bracelet I gave her when her wedding ring would not fit, her wedding ring that actually fit this last year, a candle with her picture on it, memory cards that are left, the crucifix she wore the last several months and almost as big as life itself an 8 X 10 paper saying Gail Marie Lee--Mass of Christian Burial at Lumen Christi Catholic Church---10:00 AM Friday, September 18, 2009---interment Resurrection Cemetery. I murmured to myself that it's true, it is not a dream. On my left is a basket of cards-unopened and in front of me 150 thank you cards. There you have the picture, much different than Gail's sewing room, very different than my wood shop and oh so quiet. I actually thought of asking the kids if they would take turns sitting with dad!! Of course that is not possible because life goes on, it does not stop for life or death or grief or happiness it just Marches on with reckless abandonment.
Leave it up to little kids. Liam, age 4, climbed in my lap and asked, why did they put grandma in the ground? As I grappled with words to explain he popped up with grandpa you need to find a new wife, one without a family. I gulped as if I had just swallowed a bug and then I explained that would not happen as grandpa doesn't need a new wife. Grandpa has family, a wood shop, many friends and I will be just fine with what I have. I love those little ones, most of the time, who are so honest. I smiled as I wondered if he suspects that there will be fewer goodies now but you know what I think that was not the reason. Liam seems to have a wonderful sense of people and a compassion for ones around him.
One last thought for the night. Of course there is always something one can take of any situation and today it was seeing so so so many family and friends who I had not seen for a long time. I was flabbergasted to see my only living aunt Alta who is 94 and lives in ND. She told me that I would ride my bike to their place and share with her how much I loved Gail. Many Niles Ave neighbors came and many good friends who aren't seen much because of time. I shared that it is amazing that God could take a 100% Norwegian farm boy from ND like me and instill a desire and love to HUG people!!!
I am looking forward to tomorrow as it will be the last full day of family around. Aaron/Amy and Leo will return to Madison Sunday and of course on Monday people have to start getting serious about their own lives which includes working. I will continue to blog but thanks for the support, thanks for the memories, thanks for the love and thanks for the prayers.