You know as crazy as it may sound, I knew I wanted to be in funeral service from the time I was 8-years old. I think it was a result of a combination of the death of my paternal grandfather, and witnessing the pomp and circumstance of our nation burying John F. Kennedy. An amazing thing, isn't it. Now here I am at 54, fortunate to have lived all of my dreams and more in the world of professional wrestling, back working in death care.
Be that as it may, I can honestly tell you I am a much better funeral director today after losing Dianna. I have sat on the other side of that desk in a funeral home making arrangements. Now I can tell the families that I serve that I do know how they feel, and I know exactly what I need to do to assist them in the very best way that I can.
I now believe that facing mortality is life's most complex lesson. I believe it is second only to accepting and understanding the physical loss of a loved one. Human mortality is really physical mortality. The true and everlasting existence is our spiritual life, which is what we Christians believe will never end but endure forever.
In college I remember studying the writings of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book "On Death and Dying". There she described, in five discrete stages, a process by which people deal with grief and tragedy. The stages are known as the Five Stages of Grief. They are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Since Dianna's passing, I think I go through all five of these stages everyday, at least once an hour.
I will NEVER forget the last time she told me she loved me. It was the morning of the day she died. I had made her as comfortable as possible when I was leaving for work. As I opened the door to leave, she said... "remember that I love you." Thinking back, something was so different with those words that morning. When I got into the car, I felt so all alone, and tears came to my eyes for seemingly no reason. But that wasn't the last time I saw her alive.
I got home about 3pm that Saturday afternoon, January 31st. We watched TV, I went out and got us something to eat, she was hurting so bad and depended on the recently prescribed morphine to ease the pain. At 8:30 pm, I got a call from my funeral home notifying me of a death, and I had to leave to take care of business. I made her comfortable again, and told her I would be back about 11pm.
I returned home at 11:30, the moment I opened the door and gazed at her peacefully in her big lazy-boy recliner in the living room, I knew she was gone. For over 30 years, whenever I would catch her napping, as mean as I am, I would scream her name and she would get startled and jump. I screamed her name, she didn't jump this time. Our three dachshunds were all gathered at her feet. Nobody can tell me they didn't know what was happening. Her physical pain was no longer.
Gosh... I'm gonna miss that girl. I met her when she was 16, married her at 17, and she had our oldest son at 18. Seven years later our second son Daniel was born, while we were in Dallas working for the Von Erichs. When I was home, no matter what, she cooked me breakfast and dinner everyday. She washed my clothes, she clean up my messes, mended relationships with our friends that I screwed up, she was always there. No matter if I was down the street or halfway around the world in the wrestling business.
Dianna never complained. She didn't care about having a fancy house, expensive clothes, jewelery, or money in her purse. She was all about 100% unconditional love for me, our two sons, two grand-daughters, and all of our family and friends. She was truly an angel, who earned her wings and halo staying with the devil (me) for over 30-years.
We will make it. There isn't another option. We must carry on as a tribute to her life and legacy. That is exactly what she would expect from us.
Be Blessed My Friends.