Hi, sweet friends. Coming to you from Wisconsin, fresh off of my dad’s Celebration Of Life on Saturday. I’m still processing it – my thoughts are swirling and my emotions are all over the place. I guess that’s grief, right?
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POINTELLE SWEATER + CELEBRATION OF LIFE
First, the look. This pointelle sweater has been a best seller since I first shared it a few weeks ago. The quality is amazing – it’s cotton, so you can comfortably wear it through spring and summer. It comes in 4 colors and is currently on sale for $40. I’m wearing small.
We had my dad’s Celebration of Life on Saturday.
I’d been dreading the day for the last 6 weeks.
It’s represented a strange deadline for me. Or maybe a starting line, knowing that when the lights go down on the party, I’m on my own. Just my grief and me.
My parents having divorced decades ago and my brother responsible for getting my dad’s estate in order, I was in charge of planning the celebration.
I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. I kept putting it off. I had a massive mental block and just didn’t want to deal with it. With two weeks until the celebration, I knew I had to get my act together, grief be dammed.
Thankfully, my mom swooped in to handle the food and music. I tackled the decorations and flowers. (A huge shoutout to Funny Faces out of Madison, WI for coming through with the most gorgeous balloon garland and decorations.)
It was starting to come together. My mom had photo posters printed – huge photos of my dad with my brother in his Jaguar, with me on his shoulders, with my aunt and cousins at a wedding.
As the day approached, I loaded our car with everything we would need for a week in Wisconsin, and The Mister, kids and I hit the road for the 3 hour drive home to Baraboo.
All of the emotions I had spent weeks setting to the side began to break through. Soon there would be no more running from my grief. It would find me as I crossed the state line into Wisconsin. It would find me as I drove the country roads I had travelled hundreds of times, the memories of my Dad as close and as a part of me as the golden fields and bluffs of my home state.
So, I stopped running.
The morning of the celebration, I sat down on the dining room floor, photos spread all around me. My dad’s big brown eyes looking up at me, I poured through hundreds of photos.
No more escaping. No more distractions. No more running. I wept when it all became too much. Sitting on the wood floor, holding my legs, my head resting on my knees, I wept.
I filled a photo album with my favorite photos. I wanted to share my dad with the world. I brought the album to the celebration.
All of my fears and hesitation about the celebration dissolved within the first 10 minutes of stepping into the gorgeous loft space. People poured in to celebrate my dad. Cousins and co-workers. His high school best friends, family friends, old acquaintances and new ones.
And people came to support my brother, my mom and me. My best friend of 40 years who is more like my sister. My best friend from college. My ex-step sisters who still feel like sisters. My mom’s best friends. My brother’s best friends.
We were buoyed by love.
I caught myself a handful of times scanning the room, eye on the entrance, wondering if my dad had arrived yet. I had never been in a room with so many people that I love when he wasn’t also there. I felt silly, embarrassed by my slip. I cried.
I’m not sure what the next phase of grief looks like for me. I feel a bit lighter than I did before the celebration, knowing that the planning is done.
Grief lasts as long as love lasts.
I’ll keep sharing. Stay tuned.