Rest in peace, Dad


Shadowbox of dad's medals

Today is the big day. 1pm the celebration of dad’s life and his memorial begans.

I made this shadow box for my mom to keep. She will receive a flag from the United States honor guard today, they will do a folding of the flag ceremony right before we exit the sanctuary ,to bury dad’s ashes. She can replace the photo of my dad recieving his bronze medal at the top with the flag she gets today. This will be on display at the reception.

We are doing a military theme for the reception.  Photos of dad everywhere.  A military corner with his military picture , the American flag, his shadow box of all his medals and a beautiful purple heart made of flowers, displayed on an easel. There is a banquet table with food for a small nation. We have over a hundred people coming today. The buffet table is long and rectangular.  It will be covered in white tablecloths and a bronze runner down the middle, with a gloriously large bouquet of red, white and blue flowers. My sister made a video of dad’s life, birth to death, that will be playing on a wall.  My dad carved wood.  We will display his pieces in a table. We made a red, white, blue display board for e-mails we received from  people who  were unable to attend.

We will walk under an arch full of red, white and blue ballons  exiting the sanctuary door and people will take a ballon off the arch ,once they go under it. We will release the ballons together before his ashes are put to rest forever.

I am looking forward to hearing both of his psychologists who worked with dad and specialize in ptsd, over the last 40 years ,speak. Each have a perspective that is priceless to me.

His first doctor knew my family well, I talked to him the other night and was blown away by  his knowledge or sixth sense about my sister and myself and what he saw in us already as growing children. He told me,” I looked at you girls and saw you were protecting your inner person, he saw us being strong and developing as individuals.” I was eight years old at the time. He told me that,” I had to have therapy when I was treating his flashbacks,  because of the things your dad told me, they were so traumatizing.” Both doctors agree that because of his position as a second lieutenant, infantry officer in the recon unit, his trauma and war experience  was worse than any person they have ever worked with. His job today is to help people understand that dad taking his life, is much like him having a heart attack from a literal broken heart. We really can’t imagine dad dying any other way. Suicide is indigestable ( I don’t think that is a real word), your brain seeks reasoning that it cannot find. These doctors will be helpful; in that area of our brain that needs reason and logic to go along with the other emotional side of the brain, to process loss/trauma. I feel everyone needs that.

His second doctor of 30 years will talk about  dad being a war hero and specifically about the awards and medals he was awarded. He will talk about the severity of his ptsd, and how hard dad tried.

I will be the last speaker. I put up my memorial speech yesterday. I will not be playing sarah McLaughlin in the background.  The last time I publicly spoke, I passed out. Hoping for a much better outcome and the odds will be in my favor.   I will be medicated on anti anxiety pills for speaking,  and for the  overwhelming mass of people to talk too. I am an introvert, awkward hugger, terrible hand shaker.  Ugh. Pray that my meds have divine power today. My counselor is coming,  I had to sign a bunch of forms for that, but basically due to suicide being a violent death they allow a counselor to accompany you through the funeral.  All my bestie girlfriends will be there too for support. 

Today we will lay dad to rest for good. Meaning, closure for everyone. Funerals are for people,  not the dead.   Dad has been gone 11 days already. He has been in God’s hands that long now. I feel I have traveled to the outskirts of hell, feeling this pain. I still am in denial that this is real, the surrealism is mind blowing. 

I am going to get mom ready at the hospital in an hour.  She is a fighter, she was bent hell getting out off there today.  I am thankful she is healthy and recovers quickly. I am also thankful her doctors are empathic but using safety procautions. She is coming to live with me while she recovers.  My sister in law set up a room for mom to be comfortable.  Mom will be in a wheelchair but thrilled she is well enough to go.  With mom here we have 8 people including baby coming. It is going to be a zoo. Mom’s room has cc a bathroom, t.v. , chair, bed so she can retreat from our crazy.

My son is singing amazing grace. I am going to bawl!

Gotta go ♡♥♡



4 thoughts on “Rest in peace, Dad

  1. Jana Loar says:

    Shauna The memorial sounds beautiful Your Dad would be proud of how you are celebrating him despite the numbing pain your feeling I’m hoping you got thru this day feeling Gods presence We all love you but Gods love is so much more Lean into Him Hugs

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