Here I am again writing on this blog when I should be sleeping... I will tell you that I slept more tonight than I have since the night before Daddy died.
I know today will be hard and it will probably be a while before I lay down my head for sleep and don't have thoughts of Daddy running through my mind.
I talked to so many people last night who were touched by Daddy in some way... his nieces and nephews who he spent lots of time with in his younger days, old friends who came to pay their respects, members of my own family who have lost their own fathers and my brother's friends who had become like second, third and fourth sons to Daddy.
I've also been touched by all of you who have reached out to me by email or phone to offer your condolences and words of encouragement. Everyone of you have made this process easier and I appreciate it more than I can say.
My Daddy couldn't read and write, but he was a smart man in many other ways that were important. I've learned a lot from him... some good and bad... that I will carry those things with me and pass on to my children.
Daddy had a hard time sharing his feelings of love with people... it kept him from telling us how much he loved us and how much we meant to him. I know it was something he battled with until the day he died, but I hope he knows that we all loved him as much as I know he loved us.
I can't remember a time in my childhood that he told me loved me and our battles during my teenage years could be put in the Dysfunctional Family Hall of Fame, but I do know that he always thought he was looking out for me and a lot of it was battles of self-hate he had with himself.
In a few hours we'll put Daddy into the ground beside his beloved Mama... he loved her so much that speaking of her always made him cry. I know that they're together again and although he's probably worried about my Mama, he has to be happy to be with his Mama again.
Mr. Rainey told me last night there was enough room at the family cemetery plot that Mama could be buried next to Daddy... that was always his wish, but he never thought it would happen because of the way they buried my grandparents long ago.
Mr. Rainey said it would be a tight squeeze, but Daddy will one day (my Mama - as we all do - hopes it will be a long day from now) be buried very closely to the two women he loved more than anyone else in the world. Knowing that brings me a peace that I can't begin to explain to you.
I've written about death many times as a newspaper reporter and cried at many funerals when I never met the person who was in the casket. But nothing prepares you for the time when you have to say goodbye to your own parent and it has been very hard on all of us who loved him... and on the ones who love us.
If you've made it to the end of this post than you're a glutton for punishment or someone who loves me very much... that means more to me than I can say.