Saturday, June 13, 2009

Funky Town

Yep, that's exactly where I am...right in the middle of FUNKYTOWN. I'm in a funk that won't quit. I hate it. I am usually a positive person and don't dwell on lots of negatives but, as of late, it's becoming harder and harder to find the positives. I hate when I get like this -- it doesn't happen often and doesn't last too long either. Why am I dwelling here? There is a lot going on in my pea sized brain at the moment.

Father's day is coming up -- next Sunday as a matter of fact. Friday, June 19 will mark the 5th anniversary of my dad's passing. Yep, that's right...he died just before Father's Day. I've been dreaming an awful lot about him lately. Last night's dream had us attending a conference -- something the two of us had done quite often together. He was to check into the hotel before me and we were to meet up. I'm not sure exactly who I was in the car with but when we pulled up to the hotel there was a huge line. I saw my dad, clear as day, at the counter. He was wearing his white and tan short sleeved collared shirt, his trademark sunglasses, and his gold watch. He saw me and waved then disappeared. I called his cell phone -- I can't believe I actually remembered the number in my dream. Couldn't connect. I dialed again. Again, no connection. I got in the elevator and finally got to my room -- he had been there but was gone. I woke up.

I really miss him. A lot. There's so much I want to say to him. There's so much I want to tell him. There's so much I want to ask him. I am still slightly angry that he left me so soon. I didn't even get one last hug. Everything I have done in the past two weeks has reminded me somehow of him.

I will get through this...I always do. But, right now, it hurts and I just want him to come walking through the door or call me. In my head I know that's not going to happen but, in my heart, I pray it will. I will go visit -- he's buried about 3 minutes from my house -- and tell him that I love and miss him.

Rest in Peace, Pop......

Below is the eulogy I gave...........thanks for taking the time to read it.

As I was thinking about how to start to explain my dad, I thought about a Father's Day story my niece, Kyra, wrote about my brother, Costa. The title of the book is "My Dad is Awesome." In it, she says that my brother is as strong as a gorilla, that he can run like a cheetah, is great at throwing, can sing, and isn't afraid of the dark. Coming from a 7 year old, that's pretty profound. The more I thought about what she wrote, the more I thought about my dad.

He was as strong as a gorilla in so many ways...from the hugs that he gave you every time you saw him, to the emotional and spiritual strength he gave when you talked to him. And we all know that dad was always on the run...whether it be from one meeting to another or from one family or friend's house to another. Dad was always one to listen and give you an opinion...and sometimes that opinion would throw you for a loop.

One of the greatest joys that Costa had was that of music. He taught us from a very early age to listen to and enjoy a great variety...from classical to his all time favorite, Motown. He wasn't afraid to sing his heart out and let the music take him away.

I can recall one very dark and stormy night just shortly after I had moved into my house. The electricity was off and I was searching for candles. As I found the candle and lit it, my dad popped into my mind. Not 30 seconds later, he called and asked if I was ok. I told him what was happening and he asked me if I had candles. I said, "Of course, Dad, they're lit." He said, "Good, that me there, protecting you from the dark."

That's how dad was. All I needed to do was think about him and very shortly after my thought, he called. The same was true for him...I got a feeling that he was thinking about me and I'd call. We often talked about that and came to the conclusion that we had been given that gift of "knowing" from my grandmother. That feeling of needing to check on each other grew stronger as we shared many thoughts, ideas, and conversations about our spirituality among other things. I related a story on Tuesday evening that when I had finally decided to go back to school, I called dad and told him. First, he told me that he was proud of me and that it was about time I just did it after being out of school for 12 years. He then asked me what I was getting my masters' in. When I told him that I was pursuing my master's in Pastoral Care and Counseling, he started to cry and told me that was the best news that he had heard in such a long time.

As my brother and I drove home from Indiana, we had a wonderful opportunity to share our thoughts and feelings with each other. We talked about all of the things we learned from our dad. One of the greatest things junior learned was to treat others as you would want to be treated regardless of race, color, or creed. He instilled in junior a sense of work ethic and was a strong sounding board when it came time to make some big decisions. Along with that, Dad was the "go to" guy for explanations about politics and world events. When junior went to Puerto Rico for the Biddy Basketball championship, Dad was right there along side of him as a chaperone. He instilled the passion to always give more than you receive and was never afraid to jokingly use Bill Cosby's line, "I brought you in, I'll take you out."

One of the positive things that came out of this experience was the presence of our family with us physically and in spirit. As my brother and I spend our last moments with our dad, he had a look of peace and comfort on his face. As we were holding his hands and expressing our range of emotions there was a very slight tap on the door. As we raised our heads, the hospital Chaplain entered the room. As she gracefully began to console us and ask us how she could help us in our time of need, we noticed her nametag and were immediately comforted and knew that Dad sent Callie to be with us.

Our dad touched so many lives and was blessed by so many lives. A testimony to that was the loving support he had from his Indiana family as they shared their thoughts and fond remembrances on Tuesday evening. We learned that Dad did so many things that we were unaware of and he always put others before himself. He lived to be a servant of God and always asked how he could make things better for those around him. We learned that our dad questioned what his legacy would be. We know that he was passionate about whatever he was doing and never asked for anything in return. Our cousin Dianne summed it up beautifully -- pay it forward. Keep the legacy going and know that Costa will always be with your mind, in your memories, and most importantly, in your spirit.

We would like to share some words of wisdom from our dad as he traveled on his spiritual journey. God is in control of all things and will prevail. When you ask God a question, listen to the answer. Learn from your mistakes. Be truthful. Be honest. Trust God. Be patient. Ask for help. Give thanks and praise. Let the butterfly be, keep your faith and trust in God. Think positive. Stay in the moment. Time is precious and so is life. One thing is for sure -- there is a God and he takes care of business!