November 17, 2012 was my Grandpas funeral. My moms speech blew me away.
Absolutely, totally and completely blew me away. Here it is:
Once up on a time, a baby boy was born.
He cried, he slept, he cut his teeth. One day he had his second birthday. He learned to talk and walk. He ran with bare feet on grass and felt warm sunshine on his face. He played and fell down, he got hurt and cried. His parents hugged him and loved him. Sometimes he got sick and argued with his siblings. He started school where he learned to read and color with crayons. One day he was in junior high noticing girls. He sang and danced and graduated from high school.
The boy became a man and joined the Navy. He went to a new adventure. He felt the cold air against his face while on the Icebreaker USS Edisto. He held penguins in his arms and was amazed. He heard the sound of ice cracking as his ship broke through the massive chunks. He was seasick and threw up. He held spider monkeys, ate new foods, and expanded his world. He made life long friends.
He fell in love and married the girl with the long black hair who he met in the seventh grade while she was on crutches. He became a dad, my dad. And I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. To me, he was larger than life.
Five months ago I was speaking at a funeral for my brother, Chuck, and there are no words to describe how I feel right now. Maybe just to say, it's a very lonely place. Your mind knows the reality, but your heart can't bear it! We are absolutely alone with internal grief.
My dad was my first love, when I was about four or five I told my mom when I grow up I'm going to marry dad, Chuck, Larry, Richard Widmark and Gregory Peck. How did I know in my young pure mind that was a NO?! I just felt love.
I was the only daughter for seven years and spoiled. I would sit on dads lap and hug and kiss him. On payday he always took me to cash his check and go grocery shopping. We had a large yard with big cotton trees. In the fall when it was time to rake leaves, Chuck and Larry worked up a sweat. All I had to do was pick up five sticks and I got a quarter or two. My brothers hated that part!
Once, instead of going home after kindergarten, I went to a friends house. The police were called out to look for me. I knew I had been a naughty girl when I started walking home. Suddenly a policeman on a motorcycle pulls up alongside me with my dads green truck right behind. I was happy I wouldn't have to walk home until dad got out of the truck and spanked me a good one! I had given my family quite a scare!
In fifth grade I was crazy for horses! Dad took me for riding lessons every wednesday. In seventh grade there were the orthodontist visits. That lasted two and a half years. But he never complained. My friends liked dad, he had a great sense of humor and teased them. He knew a lot of silly rhyming songs, I couldn't repeat most of them here! Not quite appropriate!
One time when my sister Farah was working and living in New York, dad mailed her a letter, he had taken the time to cut out and glue letters on paper which read, "Let it be known that my daughter, Farah, when she was fifteen, stole her fathers car and wrecked it while he was in the hospital recovering from a heart attack and blamed it on her oldest brother. Let it also be known she kept this from her poor father for eight years. She was pretty clever!" Now that was his sense of humor.
Dad loved oysters, and when he opened a can we avoided our house like the plague! We loved our Bowden holidays, especially at Christmas when mom made her enchiladas and dad made his sour cream dip. A time of love and joy for our family! Dad always brought me Indian dolls when he had to go to Winnemucca, Nevada for work training and trips. He bought me Charlie Brown books and stuffed animal, mostly mammoths because they interested me.
We all loved the smell of his coffee in the mornings, he was usually the first one up.
We shared a love of photography. Dad gave me my first camera on my tenth birthday. Because of this, sometimes we are missing from photographs, we are the ones behind the camera. Mom and dad were a team. When we were little kids, we'd get all giggly when they hugged and kissed! It made us happy and secure.
We all have so many different memories of our time with dad. I've shared many of mine, there are many more. He loved giving surprises, usually stuffed animals for the grandkids and always little sports cars for the boys.
Dad wasn't perfection, but then we weren't perfect children. Chucks passing took a spark out of dad. His anxiety made life a struggle, it would calm down with car rides. And he loved his McDonald milkshakes. We took little walks around the house, but even that became a struggle.
Now that dad has left us, I look to the sky a lot. I did that when Chuck left, too. What do I expect to see? I wonder. Right now, I see life through a cloudy lens, the earths colors aren't as bright. Where did all the bright colors go? Why are they so dull?
When I was little dad used to ask me, "how much do you love me?" And I would answer, "'til the end of the numbers."
Love is infinite.