Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 11th

May 11th, 1973 & 2013: The same day, 40 years apart. No diary entry was made on that day. What would have been a Friday in 1973. There was no opportunity or no desire to make one.

Anything from that day, the day of visitation for dad, is memory recall. And there isn't a lot of it.

For sure, I would have missed school this day. And the day before, the day after dad's death. And I'm fairly certain, for the first time in years, maybe since Grandpa died in 1963, the hardware store was closed for anything other than a scheduled day. And the store was only closed on Sundays.

In blogging today, it just struck me that Grandpa and dad died 10 years apart. Ten years goes by like the blink of an eye from the perspective of a 54 year old. Back then, it seemed like a hundred years between Grandpa and dad's deaths. A lot of growing up happens to a kid between the ages of four and fourteen.

Friends and relatives had all made their way to Pittsfield by now. Whether it's a funeral or a wedding, people are around. Something is happening all the time. And one is being pulled from all directions. Things are scattered. There's never enough time to give everyone the attention one wishes to.

 What I remember from that day is this.

Mom, myself, and a few close family members went to the Plattner Funeral Home mid-late Friday morning to view dad. Maybe this is common practice, though I don't remember doing this after mom's death in 2004. For lack of a better term, this was a "run through," before visitation was to open to the public late that afternoon and evening. It may have also helped some of us get over the initial sadness of seeing dad in a casket, enabling us to be slightly more composed when greeting people later on.

We made the trip uptown and went in. It was hard. I don't remember how any one of us dealt with it. Some tears and composure. Or a complete breakdown. I'm thinking the latter. I believe I specifically  remember Uncle George being along for support.

Through the anguish, the one thing I did notice, and was uncomfortable with, is that dad wasn't wearing his glasses. He wore glasses most of his life. From the time I was born and knew him. He just didn't look like himself without his glasses. Thinking like a "child" again, I debated on saying anything. But this really bothered me. I brought it up to mom and the issue was corrected by the public viewing. There was no questioning or debating it. After I brought it up, I think others agreed.

Lynn opted not to view dad. And I support her 100%. It was her choice. And I was mature enough to understand her decision, even at that age, and that moment. She wanted to remember dad from our visit to Tacoma in March. Not the way he'd become as a result of the disease.

We weren't at the funeral home too long. From there, it was back home to wait and ready for the evening. I don't remember anything from this time period.

Visitation may have been from 5-7 p.m. The turnout of people was tremendous. I ran across the registry book a few years back, looking for something else. It's packed in a box. There may have been 300 people pass through that night. Like most any visitation I've been to, there were a lot of tears, but there were also some laughs and stories.

Did time fly by, or drag? I don't remember. But eventually, it was over. The last people came through and expressed their sympathies and said good-bye to dad.

We went home and prepared for the funeral the next day.

I remember thinking how tomorrow would be the last time I saw dad. Ever.


  1. My Friend,
    What a wonderful, sad, and compelling blog. I wanted to let you know you have one reader.
    Joe W.

  2. Another reader. Powerful stuff. I enjoy your writing, Kent.