Death, Grieving, Healing: In Memory of My Father, Curt Whachell
"I encourage any of you that may have unresolved issues with your parents, to discuss, resolve them and/or forgive, now before later..."
My father passed away at 87 years old on March 11th, 2013. I'd seen him twice this year before a visit just one week prior to his death. He was doing so well those first two times, that the last time I saw him, was when it finally sunk in that my father was actually going to die. Until then, I naively never felt it possible.
I'd always felt blessed that all of my loved ones were alive around me, while so many families deal with sudden deaths, accidents and sickness. The whole idea of death and dying waited until now to visit my psyche.
My father lived a full and rich life. I have no regrets regarding our relationship, and have no thoughts or words left unsaid to my father, as we had a relationship that seemed even-keeled throughout my entire life.
On his last birthday I had the pleasure of reading this poem (see link at bottom) to him as he laughed and listened, and I am so glad I had that opportunity, as I also read it at his funeral, and I am glad it wasn't only the latter.
This my first experience in grieving death and it is still very fresh. I've grieved lost love, and I have to say they are nothing alike. Lost love ranks up there with personally dying, whereas the grieve I am feeling now, comes in waves. There was the initial shock, sadness, and heart-wrenched outpouring of sorrow, that led to moments of disbelief, and denial, which were hit by the next unexpected wave of sorrow.
The funeral, or memorial, is such an important process to go through. My older sister reminded me that the funeral is not only for the deceased, but also for the living. It helps up to personally come to terms with the loss; to realize, and release, the attachment to that person.
Losing a parent is like losing a part of your identity. Another benefit of putting together a funeral is, that in the process and delivery, you revisit that identity. I know for certain that our family's identity was strengthened through my father's passage. What a gift he gave us.
With my 50th birthday approaching this month, I'd asked my eldest brother to convert our old home movies to DVD so we could show them at my party. How perfect that in doing so, they were ready for my father's funeral and dad even saw a few clips on his last day on earth. We watched hours of old movies covering Wachell life from the 50s and 60s leading up to the days before the funeral, and the montage you see here (see link at base) was produced from those films by my nephew Davyde.
Our family and step-family came together to support one another and to grieve together as a family; and of course to share our sentiments and honour the man that touched our lives individually, and collectively, in so many ways. With seven children, and a divorce and second marriage, his life created a thread-work of stories and connections, and yes, even disconnections. We were able to share many stories, not only about my father, but about times gone by.
With the death of a loved one you end up having to honour the place you end at, even if there were things left unresolved. I witnessed this with some of my siblings. I am content to know that I am at peace with each of my parents, but I realised that it's 'my decision' to have that peace that really counts. Forgiveness truly is a gift one gives oneself. I encourage any of you that may have unresolved issues with your parents, to discuss, resolve them and/or forgive, now before later. And if you have not told a loved one that you love them, do not wait another day to do so. Life is so very very precious.
Rest in peace my sweet father...I miss you so.
Link to HOME MOVIE MONTAGE (1950s/60s) on Curt Whachell: http://youtu.be/MvL_0Sftvn8
A WEBSITE created for my father: http://curt.whachell.com/