I haven't been able to focus a lot lately, as if that's new but I mean even more so. The first thing I thought of for Dad's services, was the music.
I remember the grand sight of the bag piper coming down and through the aisles of my church for a ceremonial event. He was playing Amazing Grace. How utterly awesome that can be, and that morning, it was. I cried. My uncle Dan had just passed, and I couldn't attend his services. To me, this was "my" service for him, with the piper and the song. A woman in my main ceili/set dance group called, and I asked her about finding a live piper. She's been great, as have others there with several reaching out to us, but no live musician found. I should have persued it. Yet, TCRG Ma called me right away, offering condolences and a proper girls night out (which I plan to take her up on sometime when a few of us can make it, in honor of our father's, and for stress relief). Our Irish dance school has used a particular piper a few times, and Ma told me that MegaMAID could give me that info. Fantastic, and MegaMAID did so promptly (also been great and supportive in many ways, btw). With SO much going on, ya think I got to contacting him? Oy. MegaMAID offered to for me, bless her yet again, but she hasn't heard back yet (about him or others). Now I'm wondering, should we bother now if he can, should we not, or?
Bach. Johann Sebastian Bach, with a bust and all there above Dad's converted player piano. One of my cousins named Michelle (I have two with that name), told Doug that she remembers Dad playing piano with a glass of Scotch by his side. Doug said that must have been in his more gregarious days. Well, obviously before his mother, my Gram / Grandma, passed sending him into depression-induced depression and then several TIA's over time. But, Bach. Dad would play piano after we'd gone to bed at night, so nightly I'd heard Dad playing Bach on the piano, Fur Elise is one of them, but some others I have by perfect memory in my brain likely until I pass. I personally grew up enjoying Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart better (actually considered M's middle name to be Amadeus and calling her Amy, but not a strong consideration much to her relief), and M and I have enjoyed much of Peter Tchaikovsky's works to the point that she asked me when 4 years old how to spell Tchaikovsky. ("Mommy will look that up while I'm at work today, okay, honey?") Sure, we'd go to shows sometimes, but mostly, I remember Dad playing the piano himself. Dad's favorite, however, remained Bach.
And Scott Joplin. Lively fun songs, I wish I'd seen his home when M and I were out midwest (kept driving up and down that street and saw signs but not thee house). Dad liked ragtime and Scott Joplin. I never mastered Scott Joplin myself, "only" some pieces by the other composers I've listed, but Dad did enjoy Scott Joplin.
And The Beatles. And a guy whose name escapes me but I enjoyed with him. And, yes, even John Denver (albeit he'd gotten those concert tickets for Mom and him, her not wishing to attend meant that I got the huge honor of sitting in almost front row seats for a John Denver concert with a turning stage at a young age, fyi, Country Roads was written about Clopper Road in my county as it usedto be gorgeous driving along it in the fall). Dad once had thee entire Beatles collection (he gave that one to me eons ago, possibly in honour of Doug's passing who adored the Beatles).
For the memorial service, however? I figured primarily Bach. The organist available tomorrow differs from the one who would have been available last week. This one just arrived in from out of town last night. "This is what I can do with late notice." I can appreciate that. But, sigh. Starting off with hymns (prelude?), including one from Bach which organist believes will be appropriate, and ending after the Amazing Grace song apparently on organ and sung by all of us now, (postlude?) with various hymns. Last night, Pastor MB, Doug, and I, okay, Doug agreed to us chosing, a traditional Celtic song whose name escapes me but I recognize when I hear it, someshwere during the overall service. I admit, I'm disappointed. I wanted the prelude and postlude to be pretty much all Bach. Dag, the one thing I wanted for Dad's service. Besides, he wasn't really into hymns. Or, wait, Mom and Dad DID meet in some church in DC way back years ago...... he knows that hymns are part of this. So be it.
Pastor MB just called me (interim pastor called me earlier, when I just wasn't up for talking, nice of him, though), and we rediscussed a couple things. She mentioned that organist and her had talked and that he was agreeable to playing Bach, implying it'd be a few tunes. Then I told her a funny thing my aunt Beth had written today. Dad had treated Beth and himself to a trip to Madeira several years ago, I believe for Bach's special anniversay weekend / week long celebration or Beethoveen or something. Gosh I should find it. Anyway, my father had enjoyed the flower, Bird of Paradise. Dad would get arrangements for their mother which the Bird of Paradise flowers occasionally. Seems Beth's florist wasn't able to locate a florist in the town of my church who was carryinng it, but it came across that no florist in that town had heard of it. Her florist said that our town here is apparently a small town. ROFLMAO, yeah right. It's one of the largest, population-wise, in all of Maryland. Pastor MB laughed, also. Aunt Beth grew up in Arlington as my father had, so even now she knows that town isn't small. Beth asked me about other flower selections which sound just lovely. Dad would appreciate it and be fine with it. As we talked further, Pastor MB told me that we don't know who or what to expect, but it will happen, and it will all be okay. Yanno what? It's not everything I'd have wanted, but,
Yeah, it will be [okay].
And over (this part).
Even if I was SO dreading it this morning, feeling anxious. So much to do, prepare. The one thing I wanted for Dad's service was for the music to be "right," as Dad loved his music. Then I wanted a good Celtic prayer. Pastor MB had suggested the breastplate of St. Patrick as a prayer, last week, as one idea she thought was lovely and fitting. Chicklet had sent, via her father, the lovely one in the comment to my entry "Dad." I couldn't find my one book (I did find Grandma's "Edge of Glory," but it isn't thee right one). Grandma, Beth, and I loved these two books. Border's selection didn't exactly include Celtic prayers of St. Patrick or anyone:) lol (nor druids, btw), but hey, I was surrounded by books so it still helped me. Beth looked through hers, sending a few lovely Celtic Prayers, including the breastplate of St. Patrick. At last night's meeting between Doug, Pastor MB, and me (M declined, tho had the option), we went with the breastplate of St. Patrick prayer in place of the affirmation. Yes, that sounds right.
Dad did believe, just didn't like ot be forcefed religious beliefs (by his mother, who was, with her grand child me, able to be my spiritual mentor). Doug, well, I could say many things as to how he's coping and not coping, like I could with msyefl even if we're at different places with our father and with his death. I am thankful that he's there, though, and I know that some of why he was, was for him even if he won't admit it, but is also a lot for me as well.
It breaks Beth's heart not to be here, but she will be in spirit, and sent me words to have read. I'm really grateful that she has. I can't bear to open them up yet. I told her that I can trust her to write something beautifully or otherwise fitting. She is, after all, an editor, with a good heart, who did love her brother. Her husband, Len, is ill, remains ill with another episode this past Sunday in church, which is sadly sounding a lot like a TIA (mini-stroke).
M looked a bit panic-striken when I asked her again a couple days ago if she'd want to say something. Basically, her memories of Dad's good days are very few. He'd take us to the circus annually, the small one which he thought was the best (I do agree). Then when it got to be too much, he'd send us. We'd all go to the Independence Day parade in Palisades, which is a neighborhood in D.C. He'd get us all t-shirts and everything. M most remembers the tall staircases along McArthur Blvd., but not really a lot about Grandad (Dad), or even the year Beth and Len joined us, and we all celebrated at Grandma's home later (in Arlington). She does wish to dance for Dad. We may or may not have that at the reception. It's how she expresses herself. It's one thing he was proud of her for. The Irish traditionally viewed death (and real wakes) as a celebration of life. It's part of how my non-Irish church views death as well. I have to talk with M more about this.
I do know Mom plans to attend. I thank all of you for your words and prayers. I was going to pull that post, but eh. At that moment in time, it's what I was thinking and I needed to spew. Mom was okay taht night, happy to see M, trying to stay off the topic of Dad's death, not big digs. She sent a lovely note the next day, how well Doug and I are handling this, signing it "love, Mom" (as Beth says, taht's a big concession on her part, and yes, they talk and have stayed in touch all these years and are fine with each other). Doug and I both agree that it is just fine to have Mom and Bob attend. If Bob would not wish to, hey, that's understandable, but he IS our stepfather, and M's fondest adult male. Mom heard from God via our prayers, or via my Guardian Angel, or via Bob, to chill out with her other own issues, I suppose. It will be good if she can come. And Bob.
I don't really wish to do this. I don't think I"ll be able to speak, even if I have various thoughts.
A lot of paperwork stuff isn't happening well, either (could not find his Army discharge papers, but yeah, I found his belt Doug used to play with, with Dad's service # on it, and there's an online way to apply. I received my response Monday. Seems in 1973, there was this fire, and the records most affected with those from Army veterans, either discschargecd or deceased in the 1950's. Lovely. He graduated from Washington and Lee High School (Arlington, VA), then right into the Army, stationed in Alaska. (Then, for the record, he attended George Washington University where he received at least one degree, in accounting and was a CPA in DC and MD, and once in Maine, not 100% if also in VA or not). They're asking me for more info so they can try again to assist me. Guess this means no flag for tomorrow.)
I'm to put together photos, also. It's the one thing Doug wants / expects. Great. Except he also expects me to prepare it. lol. Um, okay. I've been trying to, sort of. (Also checking out baby photos of M, as they're needed for an upcoming Southern Region Oireachtas ad, so nicely now she doesn't know all of why I'm looking in old photos.) Oh, and I really would like clean black lingerie. Oy. More laundry. We don't know if M's black dance dress fits any more (she thinks so, I hope so), and mine likely needs ironing. I do have Dad, also. Very weird, very very weird to me. Tomorrow, he'll have the flowers Beth ordered.
It will be okay. And, I suppose hearing Dad's Bach song would likely trigger ancient memories that will trigger too many tears, so maybe this is just as well:) This is all going so fast. Parts of it I'd just like to have be OVER, yet somehow it feels as if it's going way too fast, too.
Actually, in my head, I AM hearing Fur Elise. What will be, will be.:)