My father was a retired minister. 53 years. Presbyterian. I’ve never known him to miss a Sunday in church. Today will be my first Sunday in my life where Dad wasn’t at church. It’s a little distressing. The shock of his death Tuesday has lessened to some degree, but since it was so unexpected, there still is some shock. I hope Mom will hold up well in church today. I’m no longer Presbyterian; I’m Episcopalian. We invited her to go to church with us, but she’s going to go to their church, where she has some friends. I know she would prefer to be at Cedar Springs Presbyterian up in Knoxville where the funeral will be this Friday. That’s where most of her friends are. But I guess (and hope) she’ll make do. It’s just weird knowing Dad will never preach again, never sing hymns off tune (he was tone deaf), never pray, never serve or take communion. It’s a bit surreal, to be honest. I would give anything for him to be in church, which is saying something since I didn’t go to church for 20 years. I’ll say a prayer for him today in church, and hopefully others will too. Mom’s been having a really hard time. She’s really stressed out and feeling overwhelmed with everything that has to be done, as well as missing him terribly, obviously. We’ve been eating with her every day and I went to Knoxville on Friday to meet with the pastor and funeral director with her. Going up again on Tuesday. We’re going to be with her every day next week, which is a bit daunting because I like my privacy, but she needs company right now, so there you have it. Meanwhile, I really miss Dad. I miss his advice, I miss his emails, I miss his corny jokes, I miss him helping around our house, I even miss worrying about his health. Now I won’t ever have to again. His obituary was online in yesterday’s Knoxville News-Sentinel and today’s Chattanooga Times Free Press. It was weird to see. I used to write obituaries for a small Georgia newspaper years ago. It’s weird seeing his. My cousin, Jane, wrote a nice poem about him. She’s going to read it at the funeral. My wife also wrote a great poem about him, and I’m going to read it at the funeral too, since she thinks she’d get too shaken up while reading it.
My mother has been deluged by cards from all over, which has been nice for her. I’ve even gotten a few. I’ve also gotten about 100 emails, most of which I’ve tried to share with my computer illiterate mother. There are going to be flowers, I guess, but we’ve asked that donations instead be made to Mission India, a cause Dad supported ever since he went to minister in India years ago and was touched by what he encountered there.
I guess I better start getting ready for church. Today’s going to feel really strange. I miss my father.