This week has easily been the hardest week of my life.
I have shed more tears, and processed more thoughts than I thought I could ever possibly comprehend. And I know I am bound to shed just as many, if not more, tears and process more thoughts in the very near future.
When we started the funeral process for my Dad, we had no idea how many people would show up. Since Dad had been basically a shut-in for the last 5-10 years, we really had no clue of how many people he had truly touched throughout his life. My Mom probably knew, but since he hadn’t had much contact with anyone in recent years, it was easy to forget.
We figured maybe 50-60 people would show up.
We ended up with twice that many.
As soon as the doors opened, people started streaming in. We didn’t even have time to orient ourselves in a decent “receiving line”.
And as the people streamed in; the faces, the stories, and the memories started to amaze us.
There were friends from his childhood and high school years. There were friends from every job he held. There were friends from the Rose Societies and the Army. There were friends of my sister, my mother, and mine. There were neighbors. There were people that none of the surviving family had ever met, but my dad knew– and one man who came from as far away as Texas– after my mom called him the day before– just to be there.
We were touched. We were overwhelmed. We were moved.
One of Dad’s greatest fears toward the end was wondering if anyone cared enough to come to his funeral.
Dad would be pleased to know that he had one of the most amazing funerals I have ever seen.
He deserved it. He was loved and respected. And it showed by the people who came, who called, who wrote, sent cards, or just sent a note.
We came home from the funeral, spent and exhausted, but so very proud of Richard Aiello, Sr.
And so, we start a new chapter in our lives.
It seems somewhat fitting that this chapter begins on the day that my blog hits its 2-year anniversary mark.
I’m proud of my family. I’m proud of our love and respect for each other. I’m proud of our strength and courage to get through some of life’s toughest hurdles, and still find a way to laugh and enjoy life as it is. But most importantly, I’m proud of my family for never letting an obstacle knock us down. We view the challenge and accept it. And now it’s time to take the next steps.
This afternoon when I got home from Kenosha, I called Jeremy and said, “I need to do something fun tonight. I don’t care what it is, but I need to just let myself go for a while.” At around 6 he came by to pick me up and we met up with some other friends to see Superman Returns. I was really excited to see the movie. In fact, I had talked to my Dad about it a while ago just before it premiered. Dad had taken me to see the original 1978 Superman movie with Christopher Reeve. He was a big Superman fan, just as I was. So I knew that seeing this movie would be bittersweet, yet exciting. And I loved it.
After the movie, we went to Crew for some dinner and drinks. And for the first time since Dad died, I was able to laugh and relax. I needed that so badly. It felt good.
So… I’m going to be okay. I know this. It’s going to take a while, and I will always miss him, but life truly does go on.
Ob la Di. Ob la Da. Life Goes On.