Daniel and I arrived to my Mom's house at eight in the morning. I was scared to see my mom. I was afraid I would just lose it again. I had to stay strong for her.
Daniel and I walked side by side towards the house. I knocked lightly before entering.
My mom was sitting at the kitchen table, stirring some of her coffee with a spoon. As soon as she spotted us she ran over and pulled both of us in a hug.
We stood their for about five minutes, just trying to comfort each other. A single tear slid down my cheek.
Mom pulled away and looked at us as if she were speechless.
Daniel broke the silence, "It's ok mom, we're going to get through this."
"Together," I added, squeezing both of their hands.
The rest of the day was rough. Dad's wake would be on Wednesday well his funeral was on Thursday. We had to go buy a casket, which happened to be a dark brown oak. I knew he would have loved it. We had to arrange for all the services, including food for after the funeral. Luckily, Daniel volunteered to call some of our close family members and announce the tragedy. There is no way I would have been able to keep it together. After he was done, the three of us went through pictures.
The first picture I found was a picture of my Mom and Dad's wedding picture. They looked so young, so happy. I glanced at Mom and saw her holding in tears as she stared at it. I set it in the pile to use.
The next one I pulled out was of my senior prom. I narrowed my eyes. My dad was protectively having a arm around my arm. I remembered how strict my dad had been with my date. How he made me promise I wouldn't get hurt.
A smile appeared on my face when I pulled out the most recent. It was of Daniel and Brie's wedding. Daniel and Brie were in the center. On their left stood me and Dean. On their right Mom and Dad. Had this only been a week or so ago? It felt like a long time. Then I thought nothing could wrong.
Of course life isn't perfect.
The three of us each picked out the rest of the pictures and gathered them in an envelope. It was already nine. We all made an agreement to go to bed without even speaking. The next two days were going to be the toughest I've ever had. I would need my rest.
It was about an hour till wake time when Brie and Dean both arrived, seeming completely OK with each other.
Dean went straight to me and gave me a hug. I put my face in his chest.
Dean kissed my head, "I'm here for you, Gabs."
I pulled away and smiled at him, blinking back tears. Their was one thing I was happy about. That Dad had accepted Dean before he died.
Brie gave me a hug as well. I hadn't talked to her since my run away from her and the other girls, but it seemed to be forgotten. Instead she whispered in my ear, "I'm so sorry."
Usually I didn't like sympathy from others, but Brie's words were an exception.
I took a minute for myself. I walked in the bathroom and tried to fix myself. I was wearing a black dress along with heels. On my neck usually sat the necklace Dean gave me, but today was different. On my neck laid a silver necklace with an angel hanging from it. My Dad had given it to me.
I sighed as I started taking deep breathes, staring at myself in the mirror.
Don't feel, I thought to myself.
But deep inside me Dean's word echoed in my head, It's OK to cry. It doesn't make you weak.
Dean offered to drive as we all got into my Mom's minivan. There was complete silence as we all sat deep in our own thoughts. I just stared out the window, watching the rain drizzling down just like it normally did in Aberdeen.
When we got there we all walked side by side in. We were instantly greeted by a funeral helper.
I wasn't even listening to him. Instead I looked to my right at the casket sitting open. I could barely see the face of the man laying inside.
I didn't even realize everyone was staring at me. I wiped tears that had decided to fall down my eyes.
"Ready?" Daniel whispered to me.
I nodded. Daniel grabbed my hand. Mom went first as she walked up and looked down at her dead husband. I watched, whimpering to myself. It was a few minutes before Mom gently placed a hand on his chest before backing away.
Daniel and I walked hand in hand to the casket. Tears filled my eyes.
My Dad looked just like he had when I last saw him, except it didn't seem like him. He looked almost peaceful.
He's in a better place then any of us.
My brother and I went to stand next to Mom. Brie and Dean took our place as they looked in the casket, whispering softly to each other.
The funeral helper told us we would have to line up to greet others. I nodded to his request as we all stood on the right side of the casket about ten feet away, me being nearest to the casket.
That's when the people started filing in. I watched the familiar and unfamiliar faces walk in.
The first person to come up to me was Uncle Fred with his wife, Margaret with him. I reached over and gave him a hug instantly.
He kissed my cheek, "Poor Bud. He wasn't ready."
I nodded in agreement, "He meant a lot to me."
Fred patted my cheek, "You'll be OK, Gabby. Bud wouldn't have left this earth without knowing you were well taken care of," his eyes went to Dean, who was talking with my cousins, Audrey and David who had just arrived with their children.
I smiled at him, "Thank you."
Fred gave me one more pat on the cheek before moving over to Daniel.
I smiled after him, a sense of ease engulfing me.
More and more people came forward. My cousins, Dad's friends, former co workers, old neighbors. All with great things to say about my Dad.
Charlotte seemed to have appeared out of no where to give me a hug. That was the great thing about having Charlotte as your friend. She knew when to by serious and funny and she was always their for you.
The wake was almost over when I was able to leave my rooted spot. I said good bye to the last person before the same five people were left again.
"I'm going to go say goodbye to Dad," Daniel muttered to us as he walked over.
Everyone took their turn. I walked up to him last and squeezed his hand. I turned to leave, but stopped.
"I'll meet you guys out in the car," I told them.
They all understood and left me to myself. To myself, Dad and God.
I turned back to him and kneeled on the kneeler, staring at my Dad.
"I'm sorry," I whispered, "I'm sorry for how much I took you being in life for granted."
I sniffed and wiped a tear from my eye, "You were always there for me. I am so glad I got to have you in my life. You have made me a person I can be proud of."
I sighed shakingly, "I love you, Dad. I'll see you in paradise soon."
With that I walked from the room.
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