Saturday, December 22, 2007

Peaceful and Dignified...

I couldn't write this post yesterday... So, let's see how it goes this morning...

I woke up about 4 AM yesterday attending the impending funeral, and Dawn was awake shortly after that. We decided to go to mass at 8:30 after we dropped the boys off for school, and I am glad that we did. It was nice to be at church rather than at home waiting for 10 O'clock when family would begin arriving at our house. After church I was extremely nervous... I paced the floor, double and triple checked the camera, sat down, stood up, took my shoes off, put them back on, it was just horrible. My Dad arrived first, and at some point I had to show him the footprints, and hand prints, because he needed to know she is real, and he hadn't had the chance to see any of that yet. The parents had all arrived by 10:10, and that in itself is always stressful for me, because my parents went through a "bitter" divorce. The tension was intense, but I really didn't care, because I needed them to be there for me, and they committed to being there 31+ years ago when they decided to have me... Dawn's parents still work together, and they have found the ability to be together without the added tension. At 10:15 it was time to head to the service... We headed out the door, and everyone followed Dawn and I in our little "funeral procession"...

When we pulled in everyone else was already there including Rich (Funeral Director), Father Bill Priest), Sister Tereska (Our Pastoral Associate), Ray (the Cemetary person). We stepped out, and Rich met with us to finalize a couple of details. He then directed our parents to the area where they needed to stand, and told them we would join them in a moment. They had done a wonderful job, because the entire area was plowed, and they had lots of green indoor/outdoor carpet set out for us to stand on. Dawn and I received a hug from Fr. Bill, and Sr. Tereska, and then it was time to begin. We walked up to Rich near the funeral van, and inside the door lay the little pink casket. I handed Rich the camera, and he handed me the casket. I turned to Dawn, and offered my arm to grab onto (a side story: on our Wedding Day after we were presented as Mr. and Mrs. I turned to her offered my arm, and said Mrs. Papesh, before we headed down the short aisle, and started the long journey of life.). So, there I was carrying the 18" casket with Dawn on my arm to the cemetery plot. I don't remember what I was thinking, but I thought I heard my mom cry, "Oh Joe"... I knelt and placed her in front of her burial spot, and then took off my glove kissed my hand near the tops of my fingers and then placed that "kiss" onto her casket. I stepped back next to Dawn, and again we latched arms.

I can't tell you anything that Father Bill said, but I know that it was peaceful, and provided comfort. The service was short, but it was perfect. We had purchased a wreath with a spray of roses set inside of it (I think I already told you there were 10 pink and 2 white). The wreath had the little ribbons that say, "Sister, Daughter, and Grand-Daughter". The service concluded, and we thanked Father and Sister for being there... I took a couple of pictures that I might post someday... Then I went through the line of our parents and gave them each a hug... I remember that my Dad said, "it'll be ok" as he hugged me... (another side story: We have had some tough times in our relationship, but having sons has really changed my opinion on the type of relationship I want to have with my own Dad... I guess I am growing up. He doesn't know this, but for this baby he was going to be my "guy"... Dawn was pretty much guaranteed to have a c-section, and they usually put her completely under. I didn't want to sit on the bench alone again, because when Austin was born I sat there by myself. I watched the operating door swing open, and could see my wife laying there completely out of it. I felt helpless, and I was going to have him be there for me, because I didn't want to do that again.) He isn't normally very affectionate, but that hug yesterday felt pretty good coming from my "guy".

The service had ended, and Dawn piped up to say, "That we would like everyone to join us at Papios for lunch". I am so glad she did, because again I was pretty shook up... Rich informed us that we needed to meet him for a minute at the funeral home, and then we could join them. We got in the van, and we were so happy because the service was nice and a dignified tribute to our Daughter. We met with Rich (who was awesome through everything), and then headed over for lunch. We were nervous about how lunch would go, but it was great, and we hugged everyone as they departed. My Mom gave us a nice poem she had written for Autumn as we left Papios...

We got home, and continued to talk about how nice everything was, and how it was just perfect... We went to Saginaw, and dropped off the roses, so that we could get a paper-weight made for each of our parents, the boys, and ourselves. We then headed to Bronner's in Frankenmuth, and purchased our Autumn bulb for our tree, and another one that says, "You may be missing me, but I'm spending Christmas with Jesus this year".

We got home again, and then decided to attend my work Christmas Party at Genji (Japanese Steakhouse)... I think Dawn over did it a little yesterday, and I am sure it was hard on her to go with me last night, but I really needed it. I needed to get away, be with friends, and have a few laughs... I didn't want to be a downer, and I don't think we were... We got home, and everybody went to bed. I woke up at 6 AM this morning, and was dreaming I was at Autumn's funeral service again.

Tommy has a hockey game today, and this morning I want to go to the cemetery, but we will see how it all turns out... I cried lots of tears writing this, and Dawn got up a few minutes ago... I think I will go wrap some presents...

4 comments:

Amy said...

Joe,
Dawn, is goona kill me!) I've never left a comment on her blog yet and we both know how she feels about comments:) Thank you for sharing Autumn's funeral with us. We were all with you and Dawn in spirit. Your little Autumn was so loved by all and is lucky to have to wonderful and caring parents. Take care! Amy

Debbie said...

Thank you for sharing with this wonderful post. Sounds like a beautiful service. Your love for Autumn radiates in your posts. Thinking of you here in Illinois!

Prairie Dawn said...

Amy - Your name is mud. ;) Maybe I will forgive you someday. Seriously though, thanks for being there for us during this tough time.
~Love, Dawn

sherri&adam said...

Joe,

Dawn just told me about her blog and with the link to yours, I had to come read a bit. I sat here and cried while reading this post. I am so sorry for what you guys had to go thru. You both are truly amazing people. I am so lucky to have gotten to know you, and your awesome kids. Please know your always in my thoughts. Hope we can get the boys together soon. We miss you all.

Sherri