A Pillow

There is no clever way to say this. My Dad died.

On April 12 the cancer finally took him. It was very rough there at the end, with struggles to breathe and maintain dignity, with exhaustion and pain.

We buried him a week ago.

My girls, ever the concrete and literal thinkers, obsess over exactly how one exactly gets buried or why those men are singing songs they can't understand in fancy, embroidered capes or what the spear thing is their cousin is carrying or why the bells have smoke or why they can't pull down Dido's baseball cap collection if he is dead now and doesn't need it.

My family struggles with the conflicting emotions of grief and relief.

There are photos I took of the process of dying and moments in the hospitalization that struck me, but they aren't mine to share yet. It's funny, but I think I've crossed the line into some kind of photographer (albeit very amateur) because there were photos I wanted to make, even at the funeral. Making photos is now an outlet for me.

These two photos are of my Baba's embroidery and what we did with it. While we picked the most simple coffin we could, at my father's request, it still had a bit of a ruffly pillow. So we crafted our own. We took some of my Baba's embroidery and appliqued it to a case we made for the coffin pillow. It might seem morbid to share it here, but I know you will all understand. I needed to share the beauty of my Baba's work, and our desire to bury Dad with the work of two generations.

I stood at the prayer and funeral services and delivered the eulogy. It was a challenge, as my relationship with my father was certainly not perfect and actually far from good at times. But he asked me and I couldn't say no. So I stood and told the story of my father and how his story is also mine, is also the story of everyone who knew him. And now it is yours.

I spoke of the need to get down on the floor and play with the little ones even when the dishes need doing or one more seam needs to be sewn. I spoke of never leaving things let unsaid. I spoke of the need to live your life, to make it through the day taking the time to share your story, to create your story with the people around you.