For Michael’s memorial service I wanted it be very personal to him and to the family. It was very important to me that we honored his life and his love for his family. I wanted it to be Michael’s memorial, unlike any other service because he was who he was and he was a unique and special person.


We had 3 huge screens playing a DVD of our photos….the one that introduced it was a real goofy one of him full of life…I will scan it later. Then it was followed by all kinds of pix of us and him with music in the background. The pictures were lovely…from our wedding through family photos and vacations and random shots…all very happy and Michael was all smiley in them…even the ones when he didn’t know he was being photographed. There were pix with him and everyone singularly including showing little Derek the mountains on his last well weekend.

As you came into the room, the back wall was all his things. His urn was wrapped in his belt with the big B.A.S.S. buckle and inside a glass case. On the wall and floor besides it we had his fishing poles, his golf clubs, pool cues, his hats (Vietnam Vet, Titlist and Bassmasters), NASCAR figurines and cars that he collected, the shot glasses he collected, both his leather and denim Harley jackets, all the Harley memorabilia, a book of Italy, his camera, and some books on fishing and racing, a bunch of “World Best’s Dad” figures the kids had given him..and the hummingbirds that signified us to us (someone once compared us to hummingbirds and it became our figurine…our bedroom is full of hummingbird figures)…and the raccoon figurine…it was full of mementos….all the stuff he held dear.

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We had informal visitation for about 40 minutes so everyone could watch the DVD and look at the mementos…the kids were a mess. They all just sat there watching the DVD and crying. The DVD was beautiful.

We started the formal service with Wrapped in Memory by Shawn Smith and then each of the boys talked and they read letters from the girls who were too overcome to talk,

My best friend and her husband spoke and then I spoke.

The boys all talked about how he came into their lives and was always there for them. They said that he was the kind of man they aspired to be…and each of them said that people usually say nice things about someone who has died but they honestly had no bad memories of him…it was true. I spoke with them and there was just nothing he did that made them angry or upset. He was just a good, loving, dependable dad. He was our rock.

The girls talked about dad and how he was there. Gina said he taught her how to eat crab legs like a “real man,” gave her motorcycle rides and was the only dad at Girl Scouts every week for 3 years and how he helped her get all her badges and patches and even helped her put them on her vest. (Michael had saved her vest which she wanted to throw out after she finished Girl Scouts. I found it in his closet the night he died and gave it to her and she cried…he knew that she would want it one day).

I talked about falling in love with Michael the night of the raccoon.

I talked about falling i love with Michael over the raccoon story and recounted it exactly as I recounted it in this post—> Visitors

I talked about how we each had said we’d never get married again and we each said we only wanted to work, take care of our kids and be happy. For both of us relationships never equated being happy. So we had given up and we were each fine with that.

I said for two people who had trusted no one we trusted each other immediately. When I asked him what he loved about me and he said Because you are who you say you are. And that was exactly why I loved him.

I told everyone that until he got sick he had never made me cry, he had never called me a name or been mean to me or done anything or said anything in anger that he would regret or have to apologize for.

He was an old-fashioned guy who believed the father was the one you rely on…to be there for the wife and kids…but he loved and respected my independence.

He would have never done anything to hurt me or the kids…he wasn’t a pushover, he was very much his own person, his own man who loved each of us and he had a different and special relationship with each of us…spending time with each of us…

giving us “something to believe in…and that’s the best thing that anyone can give…’ (as it says in Wrapped in My Memory)

I talked about how he was grateful for the smallest things…half a roast beef sandwich that I’d bring home from work….

I said I could tell a million fun, sweet stories about him…so many things. I could have stood there for four hours talking about how funny, sweet, loving, wonderful and dependable he was. I said that he promised to never leave me and if he could have helped it, he wouldn’t have.

I said that in some ways I’m grateful that I had the chance to care for him as I did the last year of his life….I was actually surprised that I never felt resentful or overburdrened…it was tough and stressful but I never didn’t want to do it. I fought with the nurses and the doctors, I cared for him at home and there was nothing I wouldn’t do for him.

I said I would have done anything for him and that is not a testament to me but a testament of how much he loved me and how he taught me to love and be loved.

I told the group that my heart has been shattered but I’m so grateful for the time I had him. And that I know what it’s like to trust someone and love someone as I did him.

And even if I knew it would end like this, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Because I would…

I talked about other things and each of us told funny stories about him.

Then the funeral director asked us all to step outside (I had no idea what was coming).

We gathered around and he walked me to a box where there were two doves. He gave me one and he took the other and we let them go. The couple of doves flew up and over the buildings in circle. The funeral director said to me, “That’s you and him.” And I filled with tears.

He then let go three other doves and as they flew and we all watched them, the kids came running up the hill laughing…which was so beautiful….to watch the birds and hear the kids.

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We all went back inside and the director said that Michael cared more about his family then anything else and his family was the most important thing to him…and he would want them to know all would be okay.

And we played Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds as his message to us.

Little Derek (turned 3 last week) came over to me and I stood up and swayed with him as the song played…he nestled his head on my shoulder as if he was sensing my grief and he held me close and I held him close as Three Little Birds played.

Rise up this morning
Smiled with the rising sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singing sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Saying, (this is my message to you)

Singing dont worry about a thing,
cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singing dont worry (dont worry) about a thing,
cause every little thing gonna be all right

I then went to each of my children and hugged them. The director invited everyone to come and touch the urn and leave their grief and take a flower. I had ordered plants and flowers and seeds for everyone to take and plant in Michael’s memory.

Then we watched the DVD again for a while and cried and hugged.

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And I like to think we honored him as he would have wanted…just the people closest to him talking about how much they loved him and how truly wonderful he was.

I talked about all my friends and family and how each person I know seems to have a different belief system about God, religion and the afterlife and Michael’s beliefs were very private and personal and he wasn’t comfortable talking about it a lot of times.

Because of Michael’s private nature and the differing beliefs of people there, I left all religious connotations out of the ceremony…I wanted it to be about Michael’s life and not a debate about afterlife.

But I told the group that I had a professor in college who was a Zen Buddhist and he didn’t believe in an after life but what he believed was that when we die our good energy goes out into the Universe and makes it a stronger and better place.

I said that I hoped that everyone there, no matter their belief system, could feel that this week the Universe became a much stronger and better place and that each of us could carry the energy of such a beautiful and wonderful person with us from now on.

I know I do. Michael’s energy was good and powerful and I know it still floats through us all.

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Rest in peace my love.

Thank you for everything.

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