Sunday, April 26, 2009

What I said at my Dad's funeral (more or less)

I moved to Texas 29 years ago with a small suitcase of teacher clothes, a trunk full of books and the love and support of my parents - Don & Ginny Wierenga. In the intervening years I acquired a few other things, though a husband and kids were not not to be part of the package. I did however get a nice old beachhouse. Lots of friends, a few really good ones, and - for the past four months - my Dad.

We had a great time together. We ate food that wasn't good for us, we drank too much wine, and we watched MSU go down in flames on the basketball court together. And we built a sweet little annex onto the back of my house. Rather, dad built it while I cheered him on. He was just finishing it up last week when the worst thing I could never imagine happened....

A week ago at this time, I was competing in a sand sculpture event in Port Aransas, TX while dad took care of my animals and my life. While I was holed up in a tiny cell of a motel room with no internet access or cell phone service, the server that hosts all mine and my friends' websites went down. Tech support was not answering or returning my calls. I didn't know when or even if things would be back up and I told my fellow sculptors it was the worst week of my life. (Which reminds me of the old joke Walter is fond of telling: "cheer up, he said. things could be worse! so she cheered up and sure enough, things got worse...." )

In the middle of all this, my dad left a voicemail on my iPhone:
" Hi Cin, it's Dad. Hoping you are back on track this morning. I know it must have been a rough night for you...
Anyway, thinking about you and loving you. You know, just kind of back off if you can and let things slide. Life goes on. You'll be okay. I have your puppy on my lap right now. We are all missing you and hoping that you have a good day. So take care. Love you. Goodbye.

I learned a lot of things from my dad, but the most important of all was that - no matter what the question, love is the answer. No matter what the problem - ultimately, love is the solution.
The cynics will roll their eyes and shake their heads, but I know what dad taught me and the huge turnout at his service speaks volumes...

It was dad's fervent hope that my house - the sandbox inn - would become "Glen Lake South" for my family. He built the annex for himself, yes but we talked often and at length about the future and how he hoped his kids, grandkids and members of his extended family would all find peace and joy there long after he was gone.

Dad's spirit will always reside with me there. Please come visit us.


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