Its 4:47 pm
My dearest Lori,
As you know your loved ones and friends gathered yesterday to say good bye one final time.
The day was a perfect match to the one on 19 June 2004 when you and I were married. A bright blue warm sky shone brightly...I slept but a little Friday night but it was a dreamless sleep,I asked God to grant me this boon at the very least.
Your family arrived at around 4:30 pm,it was good to see Brian and Brenda,Uncle Len and your dad. Brenda and Brian made a sprint to Kroger's to get some items for dinner. I had cleaned out the fridge but just hadn't been to the store to replace anything.
Brenda made a very nice dinner and for the most part,it was a nice night....your dad asked for the heater back that he had bought for you as his was "wearing out". I had no problem doing that just wish his timing would have been slightly more tactful but at 91,you don't have to be tactful anymore. He also started berated Len for not seeing your momma more which did upset me. But Brian slammed the door on that and your dad was okay for the rest of the visit.
I am downsizing now and that started with cable,I don't have Comcast right now so there wasn't any Tigers game to watch and nobody wanted to watch a movie. While Brian kept the peace between Len and your dad,Brenda and I chatted again. She is a very sweet woman and her and Brian are a smart match. She has really mellowed him down quite a bit..we had a nice chat. Pretty soon it was their time to leave and they left for the hotel....Brian would be back to pick up the Rodger Young to pick up his Aunt Jo in the morning.
I was up bright and early,I sat in the tub and read Charlie LeDuff's book on Detroit. I can understand why you had a hard time reading it,it truly is a 3rd World city and broken beyond repair.
Marlene(Crash's mom) agreed to drop me off at the church at 10:20 am. I slowly got dressed,fed Derek and walked down to Marlene's.
She dropped me off and said she would be back at 11: 15 am.
I walked into the church and said hello to Bam Bam while Debbie was on the phone. Soon she came out and as we started going over the service,Deb and Michael showed up. She had made a beautiful picture display of your life but as you were so photo shy,there wasn't many as I would have liked...but it was enough.
Donna Browne came out and was the first person who I talked to. Her husband also came out,he was nursing a nasty looking elbow injury. She was very pretty and perfectly perky,she also brought out CHESTER for me to meet. What a sweet dog he is,he jumped out of his car and headbutted me and then licked my face. They had to leave early but it was lovely that they came out. I forgot to tell Donna of our ritual....whenever we drove down Ridge Road and passed Proctor,we would both say "Hello Chester!"
Oh! His tumor that he had when you lasted saw him....it was benign and Chester is in good shape!
As I walked inside,the hearse arrived at the same time and Matthew from McCabe Funeral came and met me. We went over several small details before going to talk with Debbie and Father Casey.
I stood inside as the viewing was just about to start. I know some folks were surprised that you were bald but I explained how you hated that wig and felt much better without it. Your dad was very emotional and started crying as he saw you,I let him have his private moment. He is very shaky on his feet now,Brian,Brenda and myself all have told him he needs a cane sooner then later. I helped him sit down and then our friends and family started coming in.
My stars....there were so many people! There must have been about 100-120 that came out to pay their respects. Our angels,Melanie and Terry came out,your entire Lane Bryant team,Kathy Robinson,Ruth Petrus,the mighty Karen Taylor (she looked awesome as usual),Vesna and Sonya from LB Corporate.
Alana from Ms. J looked sooooo cute,Lori! Marriage and motherhood suits her so well...The Farmer Jack team show up in Theresa and Scuba Steve. Theresa really was a rock for us,wasn't she? My team from work showed up,Howard came out and stayed about 40 minutes. I found this just incredibly touching as this weekend is our store's "Black Friday" and you know how crazy a store can get. About 15 other folks came from my work. I met Michelle Ball and Trish Brown for the first time,both are sweet and very compassionate. Michelle does a ton of cancer awareness fundraising,Trish was kind enough to let post my blog on her page.
And speaking of the blog....I am sharing it with everyone now. I know some folks may be upset because they didn't realize just how hard we were in the soup. I am sorry for that,truly. But know they know and I know they'll even more be proud of you and will be inspired by your bravery and courage.
Amy Lange and her wonderful husband Michael were kind enough to videotape the service.
The service started and after we folded the shroud over your casket,Father Casey spoke....we sang,prayed and then I gave your eulogy. I was so honored to do and I couldn't imagine anyone giving it because who else knew you better then me? I did very well,I made it through without crying and I kept your secret as well.
After I sat down,Deb did a reading and Father Casey conducted a lovely service. Oh my Lori....how I miss you so much already! The days now are long,the nights are just awful.
I held it together until the end when they wheeled your body out,I cried...I still am wondering how many tears does a body make. Brenda and I walked out together and I once again talked to our friends,co-workers and family.
I wasn't really planning to attend the lunch afterwards,I was pretty drained after the service but I had to take Aunt Jo because my car was the only one low enough for her to get in. We ate at Antonio's and it was a nice lunch,I sat with Deb and Michael. We talked about you and flying. Deb shared a funny story about flying with you that I had never heard before.
Soon we all went our ways,Bonnie was kind enough to take Aunt Jo home and I think I'll be having lunch with Bonnie and Paula tomorrow.
Brian and company followed me back to the house. While they changed clothes,I gave Uncle Len a piece of art and your mom's wedding ring to Brian as you requested. He was very touched,your dad wanted Brenda to wear it but she declined out of respect that your momma is still here with us.
We said our good-byes and they headed home....the house was quiet once again. I washed and emptied a load of dishes,looked at email and Facebook. I then went outside and got the picture display out and put it in the house.
I called Al,we were supposed to go watch a movie but he actually had two funerals to attend...we were sort of tired,we decided to wait until a better time. We sat on his back porch and enjoyed some iced tea and just talked. Our new neighbor Erica walked over,she found out about your passing from Marlene and gave me a sympathy card and a cake. It was a very kind gesture. It started getting cold so I headed back to the house.
I gave Derek a can of Fancy Feast,he was very,very happy to get it.
I put on a DVD,"Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" on and just sat there watching it without really seeing it. I was dreading the darkness once again...but a phone call from San Jose was a Godsend,my good friend Pam Kelly with whom I had done several projects with,called me and we caught up for 2 hours...it felt good that someone reached out and just talked. Afterwards,I brushed my teeth and filled my water tank and went straight to bed. For the first time since you have left,I slept easy.
Good-bye! - no,do not grieve that it is over,
The perfect hour;
That the winged joy,sweet honey-loving rover,Flits from the flower.
Grieve not- it is the law. Love will be flying-
Yes,love and all.
Glad was the living- blessed be the dying
Let the leaves fall
- Harriet Monroe
I love you Kitty.
I like to thank the following people from the bottom of my heart:
Dr. John Armstead
Dr. Carolyn Johnston
Dr. Jessica Shank
Dr. Youssef Rusk
Amy Rauch Neilson (R.I.P.)
Deb Garfalo and Michael Rodriguez
My team at HD 2703
The Lane Bryant Team in Canton (+ Vesna and Sonya)
The Majestic Family
The Eppers Family
The Rios Family
Lisa Ann Walter
Renee McKrill (give me some time)
Michelle and Bradley Myers (two of the best!!!)
Dr. Devin Wahlen
Heidi Swanson Cole
If I have forgotten anyone,please forgive me....