About Me

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Since 2005, and over 800 entries, the orginal purpose of this BLOG has never changed. I consider it to be a personal letter from me to my extended family of fans, supporters, and friends. I ALWAYS encourage your emails, comments, suggestions, and questions. Be Blessed! ~Percy

Sunday, January 31, 2010

HOMECOMING IN HEAVEN - The First Anniversary...

What a wonderful Celebration of Dianna's Life we had at our church last night. My entire family was there, with the exception of my mom who has the flu. I could feel Dianne there too. All of you have stood by me on my good and bad days throughout this long trying year; and I appreciate it more than you may ever realize. As a memorial to Dianna, I wanted to recall the events of this day one year ago as they are forever etched in my memory.

January 31, 2009 was on a Saturday last year. It was a beautiful, sunny, fairly warm day. I had directed one of the largest funerals from my funeral home to-date at a local Catholic Church. Following a disagreement at the cemetery with a self-rightous, holier-than-thou, money hungry, high dollar mausoleum peddler (you can tell I love the guy); I was ready to go home and enjoy what was left of my weekend. Driving home, something told me to call my son Michael and tell him to bring grand-daughter Grace over that afternoon to visit with Dianne. Her time with our sons, their wives, and our grand-daughters was so special to her. You could see the sparkles in her eyes when she was with them. I recall Gracie sitting in her lap, and even the final kiss Dianne gave her. Everytime Dianne kissed Grace, she would ask her, "You know what?" and they would both say "I Love You" to each other at the same time.

Her pain seemed to be tolerable after the visit, although I was concerned that the drugs were having an effect on her mind, as she was sluggish, and slurring her words a bit. But at that point, it was a good trade-out for the tremendous pain of the past few months. I fixed us some dinner, although I don't remember what it was. We watched TV in our matching maroon La-z-boy recliners, with our three dachshunds at our sides as always.

At 8:30 pm, I got a call from the funeral home. I had to leave to go pick up a deceased person from a hospital and transport them to the funeral home. As so many times before, I got dressed, and made sure she was comfortable. She wanted a couple of popcicles, as the oxygen and medications gave her "cotton mouth". I told her to keep track of what and how much pain medication she took and left her a pad and pencil on the table next to her chair. I gave her a kiss, and told her I would be back between 11 and 11:30, and was out the door.

I pulled into the driveway around 11:25 pm, and my nightmare began. It was Mardi Gras season, as it is right now, and we had a Mardi Gras wreath on our front door, which hangs on the door as I type today. When I opened the front door, for the first time ever, the wreath fell down at my feet. As I bent over to pick it up, I thought it was funny that the dogs didn't bark, and I didn't hear Dianna say anything.

I hung the wreath back up, and as I completely opened the door I saw her in her chair. I knew immediately that she was gone.

The activities of the next few minutes still seem surreal. I guess it was my experience in death care for so many years, and the fact that we had been together for over 30-years, that told me she was dead before I even touched her. She was peacefully "asleep" in her chair, with both hands resting on each chair arm. It was so obvious to me that there wasn't any struggle whatsoever, something I still find solace in to this very day, and it will comfort me for the rest of my life.

The popcicles I had given her, were melted and unwrapped on the chair table. The pad and pencil lay on the floor next to her, and she had written... January 31st... February 1st... on it. I have no doubt that she died probably within an hour after I had left. Our three sausage dogs were snuggled at her feet, silent and motionless.

Considering I had assisted so many families as a Funeral Director in this same circumstance, my mind was a blank and few a few seconds I didn't know what to do. I called 9-1-1, sat next to her and held her hand until the paramedics arrived. I had to pull each dog away from her feet one by one, growling (something they never do to me) and carry them to another room, they didn't want to leave her. The first responders did their thing, and confirmed what I already knew. The love of my life would never suffer again.

I called my parents, the police went to my oldest son's house and told him to come over. I called our priest and he came and blessed her body and we prayed together. I called a funeral director friend, and he and his assistants arrived to do what they do.

I was so relieved when her cancer doctor told the police that she would sign her death certificate, an autopsy wasn't necessary. That was the last thing I wanted to happen after all of the medical problems she had through the years. Then they carried her away...

Her visitation was on February 4th, and her Mass of Christian Burial was at our Church on Feburary 5th. She was buried at my youngest brother's right side, who himself had died from cancer two years before.

I really don't know why I made this one-year anniversary of her a death a personal milestone for myself. But, I have... and I made it, notwithstanding the love and support from The Good Lord, my family, and friends. Until they lay me next to her in the Alabama red clay, I will always remember this date.

About two weeks after she died, her onocologist called me and said she wanted to share something with me that might ease my mind. She said that she sat down and reviewed the results of Dianna's bloodwork that she had done on that Thursday prior. She explained that there was no doubt that cancer had returned and had invaded her entire body.

Later today, I will go to the cemetery and put some beautiful new flowers on her grave and sit with her for awhile. As Alan Jackson's "Sissy's Song" rings in my mind for the millionth time...
it may have well been called "Dianna's song".

Be Blessed.