Monday, April 30, 2007

A void

You MIGHT consider when you read that title that I am speaking of the void left in my heart due to dad's death. And, you're right - there is an incredible void. However ...

I am in INTERNET HELL! Dad only has AOL dialup at the house. Grrrreat. The other night I could get nowhere. I finally gave up. I was awfully glad to get home Sunday evening. I desperately needed to access the internet - and even more, I needed my diet mountain dew. Neither were offered in surplus to me here in Webster City, Iowa.

My husband thinks it is hilarious, because Iowa is one of the most 'wired' states in the union (per capita). There is so much fiber optic cable in this state, it is incredible. But, not to my dad's house. Max and Phil (Priscilla's son) went looking for a possible 'open' wireless network. And would you believe that in dad's neighborhood there was no such thing? In fact, there weren't even any encrypted networks! I went next door (because they were so gracious and would have offered us anything) and asked if they had high speed internet access. They didn't have ANY access. Yikes. How do people live like this? {giggle}

Priscilla's other son, Dave searched out a wireless hot spot in town and found a great little location. We're here now. 2nd Street Emporium. This is truly the greatest place I've ever been in! It's a small town 'fancy' restaurant. I'm eating a homemade tuna salad croissant. AND, typing my blog. Ahhh, life is good.

The family is starting to come to terms with the fact that we have a lot of decisions to make and a lot of stuff to clean up. Dad was the worst kind of packrat. We are finding so much junk that he saved. He took a lot of medication. He has saved every little paper bag from the drug store. Flattened them out and stored them in a box. We found a box labeled 'empty pill bottles'. Oh yes, that's what they were. In the garage we discovered several large boxes filled with empty ice cream (5 qt - Dad loved his ice cream) containers, potato salad containers. Several boxes of these! Every piece of mail that he ever received has been filed. Not for the last few years, but for MANY years back. He threw nothing away. Some of it is really cool stuff.

We found a 1956 tour guide to New York City - beautifully illustrated. There's another tour guide from 1955 - Washington, DC. There's a 1960's street map of Des Moines. (this is just the beginning folks!). So, as I'm purging the garbage, I'm loving the treasures. We have discovered copies of all of our grades through high school and college. There are multitudes of papers that he has collected over the years - showing his pride in his children. It's amazing. We are finding pictures and memorabilia from his life with our mom and even his life as a young man before he was married. What a treasure trove!

Dad labeled everything. He filed everything. He was obsessive about order and organization. I will try to take some photographs tomorrow of his 'cubbyhole'. It's a small space in the basement. His big ole desk, a 4-drawer file, 2 flat drawer files (stacked on top of each other) and bookshelves completely filled. Behind the chair is a small bathroom - shelves line the walls - we have discovered at least 50-75 pairs of glasses! All labeled as to when they were used and packed nicely away in zip lock bags. (Yes, please laugh out loud).

The best part? Behind this little bathroom is an entrance to a crawl space under the kitchen (split level home). In this crawl space is more junk. Dad spent many months during their first years in this home building shelves. They're simply planks sitting on top of cinder blocks. And they're filled with more junk. My grandmother died in the early 90s and we have discovered her cancelled checks in there! (Now ... laugh out loud!)

However there is beauty in all of this. As we have been looking for the financial information so that we can turn things over to Priscilla and her sons, Dad's organization and 'saving' skills are a blessing. We have everything at our fingertips. Honestly, we have more than we will ever need. I have all of his tax forms (plus all of his documentation that went to the CPA) for the last 20 years. But, there is enough there to find the data that we will need to ensure Priscilla is taken care of. That was his only concern.

Now, as I'm finding this information, I'm also finding all of the bulletins and newsletters from his many years in the pastorate. HAH! I'm finding notes and schedules for youth retreats (from the 70s) and everything else he did. There are indepth files on everything he ever researched or read. Do you want to know about cults? I have a lot of information. How about apologetics? Oh ... he has it.

Tomorrow we get serious about the purge and the saving. Carol bought a large box of trash bags ... we'll see what happens.

Thank you for the prayers and support. The other thing that I was glad to be home for - if even for just a few hours - was to be surrounded by people who loved me again. I'm in Priscilla's home and among her friends. These people adored my father and some of that rubs off on me, but not much. I discovered that it was difficult to grieve in those circumstances. I moved into 'grown-up' mode quite easily. But, when I got home and encountered people who felt for me and for my immediate family, the tears easily flowed.

Ok ... it's 8:30 - I have to drive out to the cabin for the night. My sis and brother are already there. We'll be up late tonight.

1 comment:

Jacqniel said...

Let the tears come - so much better than being a stoic adult. You are in my prayers. Love you, Jacque