This morning I opened my eyes and the world was still turning. It still is, and more likely than not, it will continue to do so. Everything is real. Nothing has been a dream. Although it seems surreal, we laid my dad to rest yesterday in a beautiful service. A service I hope he would’ve been proud of. My sweet husband J-Dub said even though funerals aren’t cool, that was the coolest funeral he’s ever attended.
My dad’s nephew, Kevin, delivered the message and told stories that reflected his life. Although many weren’t told, or couldn’t be, I hope they are being told somewhere. Remember stories only happen to those who can tell them. Tell your stories.
My dad had a t-shirt he loved to wear and wore often. It read, “Being Bob is my Job.” Everyday was Saturday to him, and all he had to work at was just Being Bob, and he did it like no other. His nephew spoke about him being Bob the Parent, Bob the Patriot, and Bob the Provider, providing us with an abundance of laughter, joy and memories. A beautiful slide show remembered his life. Bob Seger sang, “Like A Rock” and that’s what he was. As strong as he could be. My brother Stan said he was a Superman, and that’s true, nothing could get to him.
The Patriot Riders, a group of veterans, honored him by lining the walkways and leading the procession of cars to the graveside. A very long procession of cars, I might add. His sister Jeanne said Bob would’ve enjoyed knowing he stopped all that traffic.
His pall bearers donned Hawaiian shirts in his honor, I know he would’ve gotten a kick out of that.
The Marines played Taps and presented the flag. It was a proud moment.
At the conclusion a white dove was released.
It lifted itself to the heavens, I watched it as long as I could, and then it was gone. Just like him.
His friends have made a facebook page in his remembrance, and it is a comfort to read the stories and see the love people had for him. One friend wrote it perfectly, “It is clear that Bob was well-loved, and has loved well.” How true, how true.
The tears that pour down my cheeks and fall on this keyboard aren’t tears for my dad. Why cry for him? His struggles are over. My tears are selfish tears. Tears of hurt. Tears of loneliness and sorrow. Tears of missed opportunities and dashed plans. I am grateful to have had nearly 36 years with this man.
This man who held me, laughed with me, encouraged me, danced with me, who never judged me, never spanked me, who gave me horsey rides and sloppy kisses and insisted I was rubbing them in instead of rubbing them off, who prayed for me, who believed in me, who taught me the important things without knowing it, who loved me bigger than Hog Eyes and Sauerkraut, Alabama. (I’ll have to tell you the meaning of that someday).
I know I’ll see him soon, but I can’t see him today. I’ll have to wait and press onward. He would want me to.
The prayers of friends and loved ones have reached the ears of God, and He has carried me and my family past this hurdle. But as I gaze down the road I’m traveling today, all I see is a path of hurdles ahead. tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. Today. Right now. We still need your prayers, please.
When hanging up the phone or in emails to him, he would tell us, “Love you back.” I hope he knew how deep my love was for him, and still is.
Love you back, dad.
P.S. The pics of the funeral are from the Patriot Riders, https://picasaweb.google.com/Proudnamvet/BobBriggsUSMCVietnamTahlequahOK3211?feat=directlink#5579597761663225378