TLG&TLTA Part 4/Funeral

DustyMark's Journey 2 Comments

May…nope June 5 2022

The whirlwind doesn’t stop and it’s not actually anything I brought upon myself like I have in the past. We had a very busy spring/summer coming up and we knew that. Mark passing away just made it all harder…sadder. More overwhelming. Karson was married last night…but I’ll talk about that later.

Following May 11th the list started and it has not stopped. I have been very capable of blocking emotions and moving forward…I don’t know if its a gift or a curse..but I see patterns of it in my past. There is just stuff that HAS to be done and you can fall apart and not complete the tasks and make it emotionally harder on yourself, or you can focus and do it. That Wednesday afternoon we were mostly by ourselves but Pastor Ken and Trevor came over and we decided on possible funeral days and what would work best for them and for us. That evening was empty and lonely. I don’t remember it well at all now. I think Aly slept with me. The next day we met with the funeral home, Karson and I, and we selected his casket and vault, decided on a date for visitation and funeral and then she gave me a list of things to do for them such as call the city and buy a lot. Like a good student I went through my list. Mark and I talked about funerals…many times throughout our marriage. He always said he would go first…maybe because he does risky things? I think he thought we would be older though, I know I sure did. When he traveled I often would fear I’d get knews of a plane crash or some weird accident and I did not know how I would handle that. Anyways…..we discussed funerals and then again not so long ago. We disagreed on arrangement..I mean, we didn’t want the same things for different reasons. He wanted to be buried in a casket, open, in a suit. I asked “why a suit, you never wear a suit?!” He thought it proper to wear a suit. To be formal. I thought he should wear normal casual dress clothes. I also didn’t understand open casket. I remember my grandpa’s funeral and since I was very young, I’m sure he looked like the man I saw alive but when we buried my sister….I just thought it never even looked like her. When your soul leaves your body…its just not you. It doesn’t look like you no matter how good of a job they do and Mark already didn’t look like himself. We planned for the open casket Mark requested but it made me nervous and we agreed to decide before the visitation if we wanted to keep it open or not.

I called the city and got a lot that allowed me to be buried with him later. I will be cremated and placed on top and we will have a shared stone. We will both be buried in the same row as my sister and next to the plots my parents bought. I don’t visit gravestones but I know some people do and that may include my kids and other family members and this makes it easier to tend to them all. The hardest part for me was choosing what he would wear. When we moved I asked him to go through his clothes and some we donated and some we just packed away. Since he was no longer wearing dress shirts and suits, those bins were in the garage. Mark recently had made a comment that I made him give all his stuff away and I had to remind him I did not. He was forgetting things. I was able to find several shirts, a few ties and his suit he wore the most as well as one he never wore. I went with the one he wore. It was hard to drop that off. To drop off clothes for my husband that was no longer alive. I steamed them all and sprayed them with his cologne…which seams silly but appropriate. Mark stopped using cologne and deoderant as he never went anywhere but doctor visits and really didn’t sweat etc…I missed his smell. Maybe I needed it more than any other reason.

The days leading to the funeral were full of photo finding video watching and people coming and going. I can’t even tell you how awesome my circle of people are. I needed a dress, several were dropped off and some friends even took my girls shopping for outfits, for the funeral and the wedding and then picked up needed items for me as well. I never had to go try on clothes or even order for myself. If I can encourage people….that is how you help when you don’t know how to help. Lift the thought mode, don’t even ask people what you can do for them. Sometimes knowing you need help but not being able to identify it requires too much brain space and can be stressfull. I also worry I’ll miss out on help when I do figure it out. My biggest goal from Wed to Tuesday was to have a funeral that represented Mark well. That really dipicted his life. But how do you come up with enough items and photos to do that? There is never enough. Mark was so much more than that 2 hour funeral. The pressure I felt and put on myself was huge but with that same circle…I was able to pull it off. I should say we. There were lots of hands in the bowl for sure. I never made a board. I set up nothing.

The day of the visitations was hard. His mom was there early and I knew this was very hard for her…she was able to see his in the casket and so did his youngest sister but once we were all there (me and my kids) we decided to close it. It was heartwrenching for them and I couldn’t even go up to it. I don’t think he really grasped what he might look like with cancer devouring his body. We decided to close it and remember Mark as he was. His other sister shared his open casket concept and needed the closure of seeing him so she was able to have a private showing the next morning. The funeral home was so good since the moment they arrived at my home until the end of the burial. They were very easy to work with and really patient. When they made a typo on the obituary… (the relative preceeding and proceeding death part. I wrote the body) they changed it with no problem…they did the private showing…they closed the casket and rearranged the flowers and they opened his casket last minute so Aly could put her note in. They did well.

There were alot of people and if I missed seeing you, I’m sorry. The funeral, I felt like, went really well. I told Hatcher he did not have to sing at his dad’s funeral…but he wanted to. I didn’t want his to have that pressure. I guess somewhere along the line Mark asked him to. He did a wonderful job! The kids did great speaking as well. The song The Goodness of God…is hard for me to hear. I think Cora sent it to Mark in the hospital. I would listen to it on the way home at night because I couldn’t stay overnight..and then when we were home one night…I woke up and Mark wasn’t in bed and I went out to the kitchen and he was walking circles around the island. He was in alot of pain and in huge emotional turmoil. He could not understand all of this…he had that song playing on his phone’s speaker and he was singing to it…as he cried…and walked around the island. I’ll never forget the sounds and scenes from that night. A man that I looked up to that always seemed so strong and confident…….couldn’t sing through his tears and sobs as he paced the kitchen. A man that always has had a great relationship with Christ was crying out “why?”. To be in that place and sing “the goodness of God”, to worship through the pain and uncertanties is just something forever enbossed in my mind.

I didn’t plan a luncheon right after and we didn’t do a procession because we knew it was going to be a large crowd and to flag that many cars could take well over an hour to get everyone there…and where would they park? The way we did it allowed people to decide if they wanted to go. I also didn’t want people to then have to drive back to the church for a luncheon and so I planned and evening gathering…with Mongolian BBQ. Sadly, the caterer fell through and we had Mexican instead but Mongolian is a favorite pastime of the McCombs familys (his moms side) and we have all enjoyed it several times with them and I thought it would be something Mark would have liked me to do. I did more of a private event but even then, Mark had alot of close friends and family and so it was still alot of people. Once again, I did not get to see and talk to everyone. I was able to go home that night with my kids and decompress a bit. I think by friend stayed the night with me that night and we slept feet to feet on the sofa. I’m so thankful for friends that just check in with me. That fly in from out of state to support me and family that has no expectations and just silently or not so silently are there for whatever. I am spoiled.

This is the hard part guys. Weddings without your spouse, graduation open houses without your partner (that always got the lawn looking great for parties) and kids finishing growing up and going into life without their dad. Granddaughters with no papa. It wasn’t suppose to be like this. Sin brought death and we will all experience it at some point. I’m greatful that I don’t have to do all the medical stuff but at the same time that brings guilt and turmoil because that means he is gone and I’d rather have him here. I struggled with that alot.

So the empty void lies ahead. Believe, me I can keep busy but I’m not sure ignoring the feelings and pain are a good thing but distraction is nice at times. We have Aly’s party and Mark’s 5K coming up on the 18th. I told my friends and my kids. I dont’ want to just mark things off a list…I want to be present and enjoy the moments. Being at Aly’s graduation felt like the twilight zone so I made sure to really try to be present at the wedding. I feared if I looked happy people would think I didn’t miss Mark. Isn’t it crazy the things we worry about?

Karson was suppose to drop a podcast before the wedding but I think he forgot…bear with us!!

Comments 2

  1. Goodness of God. Wow. Tears as you paint the picture of Mark so beautifully and sadly that night in pain. That is one of my favorite songs and I pray for the faith and trust like Mark had should I experience such suffering. Thanks for sharing so much vulnerability with us Dusty. It spurs us on as we walk through this broken world holding onto our good Father’s hand.

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