I keep hearing people say "the worst is over", meaning the funeral. But I feel like the worst is just beginning. Family members are already flying out today and now we have to cope with normal everyday life without Roy. I think that is going to be the hardest...going through our daily routines in such a way that we look ok on the outside but holding back tears here and there or lying awake at night thinking about him. (And I mean "we" as in those closest to Roy, not necessarily me. I already see this struggle on Ben's face this morning.)
It was a closed-casket ceremony but the day before family members were allowed to view the body. I didn't feel any need to do this but at the last second, since the boys seemed content with Grandma and the others, I decided to join Ben, his sister and a couple others. I'm so glad I was able to be there for Ben. It was a really strange thing being there. He was dressed in white in a white coffin in a small room with candles and roses. When we walked in he had a white satin cloth over his face that was so dramatically removed once we'd all gathered around the casket. Having seen way too many movies, Ben and I feared he was going to wake up suddenly and grab us or something. But Ben's sister eased everyone's akwardness.
She went right up to her dad's cold, lifeless body and started caressing his hands, his cheeks and running her fingers through his hair. It was so beautiful. It was so loving. That is when I lost it. That is when I realized the magnitude of this loss...losing a parent! Although Ben's sister lives in New York she talked to her dad every single night for at least one hour. She hadn't seen him in many months. Yet she was so thankful just to see his dead body and to have the opportunity to hold him again. The rest of us stayed there about 30 minutes. She was in there with the body for over an hour. In the end Ben was in the parking lot beeping the horn for her to come out!!!