Maggie's funeral was yesterday. There wasn't a dry eye in the house, either, especially when Dad got up to speak. Quite a few people told him that he could have a second career as a preacher! Even Rev. Ticknor told me that later. Dad told everyone that every day you should thank God for having someone you love in your life. If you have silly arguments, or say things you really don't mean, if something happened and you never saw that loved one again, would that be the last thing you wanted them to have heard? He said when you go to bed at night to pray and thank God that he gave you that day with people you love. In the morning if you wake up and that person is still with you, he said to thank God again for giving you another day with them. He said that even though he was in Delaware during the week, he and Maggie called each other at night to talk about their day and to say goodnight. Dad said he is comforted by the fact that the last thing he said to her was "I love you", and "Goodnight". While he was saying this, the lights in the church flickered. They flickered again when Maggie's best friend Julie stood up to speak. After the service Dad had wanted some private time with Rev. Ticknor to talk and he told me that during that time he asked about the lights, and Rev. Ticknor told him that he noticed it, also, and that it had never happened before. Something to think about!
On a table in the reception hall there was a display of pictures of Maggie and three photo albums of pictures. There was also a basket of shells that Maggie had collected over the years and everyone was told that they could take a shell if they wanted to. At the front of the church during the funeral Dad had put a picture of Maggie in which she was standing on a beach all by herself, with the wind blowing her hair, her arms thrown wide open, and a huge smile on her face. Dad said that this was a favorite picture and that it showed just how Maggie embraced life. People talked about how she would randomly send them cartoons, articles, books, or something that she came across that she thought they might like. One day as I was sitting here working, the phone rang and I saw on caller ID that it was Dad's and Maggie's number. All I had time to do was say "Hello?" and Maggie said, "TurnonDr.Philrightnowhe'stalkingaboutfearofdrivingbye!", and hung up. I was laughing, but managed to get the television turned on to the right channel!
Rev. Ticknor said at the funeral that many years ago his wife had left him, and he was left with two children ages 2 and 4 to raise. He said that he and Maggie had even dated a few times after his wife left him! I talked with him after the service and told him how I had attended St. John's Church. It turns out that he knew that church very well, and as a matter of fact had just seen Father Wingert, who was there while we attended and who did our marriage ceremony, a month ago! He said that St. John's closed a number of years ago and that several items from the church were stored in his church now. He said that after standing empty for many years, the Diocese sold St. John's and now it is an African-American church and he said he was glad to see it, too, because now that church had more spirit than it ever had! He said that the priest who took over after Father Wingert retired died just a few years after that at the age of 42. He was Father Robey. He had taken over St. John's by the time of our wedding but we had asked Father Wingert to perform our marriage ceremony since he was the one who had been in the church while I was growing up, which he was kind enough to do. It was certainly a sad day, but Maggie had a lot of friends and Dad told everyone that Maggie would want everyone to laugh again and he said that rather than mourn what seems like an untimely death, that we should celebrate having her in our lives for 22 years, as he did. I do believe that Dad could be a preacher!
It was nice seeing my cousin Lisa again. She came with her husband, Uncle Jim and Aunt Nancy. We caught up on things and exchanged email addresses. Every year Uncle Jim and Aunt Nancy (isn't it funny that at my age I still call them that? Just calling them Jim and Nancy somehow seems disrespectful!) have a bluegrass festival at their house in West Virginia. Dad has told me in previous years how great it is but we never went. I think we'll be going this year, not only because it will be good to get together with everyone, but because Aunt Nancy said this is the last year they are having it!
Well, I am truly tired and need to get some work done before I can even think about taking a nap. I am still fighting back tears now and again, and I guess I will be for a while. I keep choking up thinking about watching Dad carry the box with Maggie's ashes out to his van to leave the church yesterday. He suddenly looked so tired and old. He didn't want her ashes put in just anything; he chose a box that she had particularly loved and that had been in his library/study at the house. Oh, now I'm going to cry AGAIN. I need to go switch gears and work or clean house, or do something! I asked Rev. Ticknor to please keep Dad in his prayers and he assured me that not only would he, but that he would make a prayer request at the church as well. Dad had said not to pray for him, but to pray for Maggie, but I told him that Maggie was already Home, and now Dad needed prayers for strength and peace for each day to come. Okay - enough now! Back to work! Or cleaning. Or napping.