Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Trails Until We Meet Again

The weather on the day of Daddy's funeral was perfect up in the high desert. Cool, breezy, blue, blue sky and cotton ball clouds. We were blessed because the weather "over the grade" can be unpredictable as we'd found out many times in the years my parents lived up there.

The memorial started off with two representatives from the Navy. One played Taps on the bugle. Then they both folded the flag and presented it to my older sister, Mary. When I heard the words "from a grateful nation," I cried. He and so many other veterans...we are so grateful for the sacrifices they made.

When Daddy came with us years ago to plan his memorial, we'd agreed we wanted live music. We'd had a wonderful singer at Mama's funeral 19 years ago and it was something we always talked about. The mortuary director (I'm not sure what his position is called, so forgive me if I said it wrong) said there isn't much of a call for live music these days. Also, we were having a graveside service so that made it more difficult. We requested that the musician play the three songs sung at Mama's funeral--The Old Rugged Cross, How Great Thou Art and Amazing Grace. The only person the director knew was a local guitarist whom he said had a beautiful voice. Well, the guy came with his guitar and a small amp and beautiful voice doesn't even come close to it. He was so good and inspired us so much that we ended up singing with him as he sung Daddy to Glory. My cousin, Jimmie Lee Webb, preached Daddy's funeral sermon and many of us stood up and talked about Daddy. We ended the funeral with the song I'll Fly Away. By that time we were all singing loud and clapping. I hope Daddy, Mama and Uncle Jimmie (Jimmie Lee's dad and my mother's youngest brother) could look down from heaven and see us. It was like an old-fashioned revival singing. The only thing that was missing was the potluck "dinner on the grounds."

So, life goes on. I have good days and bad days. It's the same for Allen and my sisters. You all know what it's like to lose someone you love. That old cliche "the new normal" is the reality. My deepest gratitude to all of you who have written me. I've received over five hundred emails and I've read every one of them. Your words of wisdom and support have been so helpful and healing. I am overwhelmed by your kindness and compassion. Thank you.

On a lighter note, my editor and I have finally settled on the title for my new book (sequel to The Saddlemaker's Wife)--The Road to Cardinal Valley. Once you read the book, you'll see why it is a very apt title. The road Ruby McGavin drives into Cardinal on is both physical and emotional.

So, I called this post Happy Trails Until We Meet Again. I meant it to refer to Daddy, but it also can apply to you all. I have a few speaking engagements this year despite not having a new book out (except the paperback for Spider Web which comes out in May). So, check out the appearances section of my website and see if I near you! And until then...Happiest of Trails to all of us!


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Long Day's Journey into Light!

Dear Friends,

I know many of you have followed my journey with my father and his dementia through my blog posts. So I wanted to share with you that my father, Earl Worley, passed away yesterday of congestive heart failure. He was taken into emergency on January 31 and we were in the emergency room for ten hours. When we finally got a room, we were blessed to not have a room mate. God knew what He was doing because it was a long, hard night. My dad struggled with the spiritual desire to leave this earth and be with the Lord and his physical desire to stay on this earth. He truly fought the good fight. During the night there were moments of clarity where he said things that showed us the man he'd been before the dementia stole him. As we always knew, he was still there deep inside. My older sister, Mary, and I were given the gift of being able to help him through that struggle. He was never alone during that long night, one of us was always at his side holding his hand, rubbing his feet, quoting Scripture, talking about Mama, telling him it was okay to go. He would take the oxygen that was keeping him alive, then push it away in anger. Daddy was tough, a real fighter and he fought until the very end.

He seemed to rally when morning arrived and my sister and I decided it was going to be another long haul. So we divided the time with Mary taking days and me taking nights. I left about 9:30 am to go home and shower, change clothes, rest a bit, come back in the evening and spend the night. But at around 2:15 pm on Feb 1st, Daddy said "enough." Mary was with him when he died, holding his hand, telling him it was okay to leave. It took me twenty minutes to get back to the hospital, but the long day's journey had ended for my dad and he had walked into the Light. I believe with all my heart the first person he saw was Jesus and the second was my mom, whom he loved and missed for the last 19 years.

It was an honor to be able to share his last night on earth. I thank the Lord for that. He will have a military funeral because he was very proud of serving in the Navy. Godspeed and Happy Trails, Daddy. I will see you and Mama and both grandmas again someday. I want my first meal in heaven to be Grandma Webb's peach cobbler and Grandma Worley's fudge.

Thanks to all of you who have read my blogs, supported me, prayed for me and encouraged me.

Love, Earlene