As we sat there with David asking Mom questions and her providing answers based upon conversations she'd had with Daddy, we also shared stories and fond memories - he of his recently departed dad and us of mine. At one point, Casey, David's son, told us we needed to pipe down a bit because we were getting rowdy.
Mom and I had talked about it last night and she pulled out the clipboard Daddy had used to map out his ideas about his funeral. He had listed the associations he wanted published and the pall bearers and honorary folks he wanted to recognize right after he had come home from the hospital. He had to pause and Mama wound up having to do some of the writing while he talked it out. Last night I keyed the information onto an online document and shared it online with Mom. She brought a copy today and we passed it along to David and his niece, Mandi.
David made the comment that not many people have written an obituary and I sheepishly admitted that every eighth grade student I ever taught had written one - their own! David and Mandi provided us with a hard copy to proof and we all began to read and check. In no time, I asked for a pen to begin doing some editing - yes, the writing teacher in me came out. I started circling and drawing arrows and making marks all over the page while everybody in the room rolled their eyes and nervously snickered. When David sent me to the office to work with Mandi at sorting out all of the miskeys, it sort of seemed like old times when she would be working on an assignment at school and I would be wandering the room peering over shoulders and offering advice to young writers.
We even edited and made changes using a mobile app while we were out walking along the cemetery where Mom was selecting a final resting place for her and Daddy. True to my teaching - there was no final draft.
My daddy kind of lived his life that way - dots and dashes and lots of commas and semi-colons and only a few periods. The outpouring of love from people has been overwhelming and we do appreciate and cherish each and every one of the folks who say such kind things about Daddy and the kind of man he was.
We are anticipating the day tomorrow to be a long one but how do you sum up a long and storied life with just a simple visitation? Truly Daddy's legacy lives on in all the lives he touched and each person he encountered. He served as a mentor, a model, an over-the-shoulder advisor, and editor in his own way who offered many second chances. I guess he adhered to that concept that there is no final draft as well. The only thing is that now he has turned in his deadline copy and I'm already wishing I could ask him some more questions.