Today I did something I haven't done in over 5 years...in fact, it has been 5 years and 8 months since I did it.
I stepped inside Geo. H. Lewis and Sons Funeral Home.
A place I haven't been since my own precious mother died. A place I do not like to go. A place that holds only pain and sadness for me.
But a friend's mother passed away and the visitation was at the funeral home and today I had to go.
Love took over...
Because I didn't want to go in there.
I can handle funeral services (now...but it took a while) in a church. But not THAT funeral home.
Just before stepping inside I had a little tiny panic attack. I had to stop and take a breath and let myself gather up again. I let my love for my friend and his family take me inside.
I didn't look in the chapel. I did not want to go in the place where my mother's body had once been in a casket.
So I just avoided looking in.
I visited with the family. I visited with friends.
I took a lot of deep breaths.
I only had one bad moment inside...it passed.
Love took over.
Tomorrow the funeral is at the same church where we had my mother's funeral. It is not an easy church for me to go to. But I will go.
I seem to be going to a lot of funerals these days. This time it is easier than my friend Patrick's passing since this was an older woman...a woman who had loved a lovely full life. It is still sad that she is gone, but, as we all know and hope to some day be---she is in HEAVEN! She is at peace...she is free of pain...she is with her husband and family members who where there to greet her.
But I don't want to dwell on sad things...this is a season of giving and thankfullness and being with those we love.
Love takes over...our love for each other, for our families, for our friends, for God, for Jesus...
Somehow love has NOT taken over the overwhelming urge in me NOT to shop and NOT to decorate.
I just can't get into it.
I love Christmas and I used to love decorating but ever since my mother passed away some of the joy is lost. That, and having a lot of my stuff ruined in a flood.
But I am bound and determined that no matter how big a pain in the neck it is, I will get a tree up this year and I will put out some of my decorations.
Love needs to take over...because my kids miss it...
As for the shopping, my son just wants gift cards to buy more video games and my daughter wants music stuff and asked if she can just pick it out online and send me a link.
I miss the days of Toys R Us and trying to get the last Beanie Baby...
So this year we adopted a family (I'm letting love for someone I don't even know to take over my credit card) and I got to buy an Easy Bake Oven.
They still make them...
Wasn't that the BEST cake ever? Even if it was smaller than a saucer, hard as a rock and it gets cooked with a light bulb.
One friend told me that she bought a "Baby Alive" for the girl on her adopted family list. It brought back some memories.
I had a Baby Alive. So did my sisters. They are horrible things these Baby Alive dolls. They "eat" and then they pee...
You have to feed them special food. Food that disolves and easily rinses out with the water you feed the doll to make it pee.
My sister, N, fed her Baby Alive real baby food.
Not a good idea....
It got ants...and maggots...
Baby Alive died in the trash can...all of them.
My father told my mother never to buy such a stupid doll again.
So the next year she didn't buy us baby dolls at all and my father, after a good bit of "cheer" (of the alcoholic variety) at his aunt's house, was upset to see that she had not gotten us the baby dolls we so desired. (She had, however, purchased us Madame Alexander dolls...which I still have).
So my father called the owner of the only store in town that carried dolls and got him to open up at midnight and he bought us some dolls.
My Daddy loved having daughters...and he loved giving us dolls.
But in that instance I think "Scotch" or "Bourbon" took over and not love...in any case I got several dolls that Christmas.
My dad was acutally quite a world class shopper. He is the one who took me shopping for all of my "rush" clothes before heading to college. We went to Sakowitz and they set up a screen in one of the big dressing rooms. I played dress up all afternoon and my dad was delighted as I would come out from behind the screen and twirl around for him.
Years later, when I was married, I was shopping at Sakowitz and the saleslady told me my father was downstairs in the mens department. We were meeting there for lunch. I had picked out 4 dresses but knew I could only buy one...maybe two. So I went downstairs in my favorite (and the most expensive) dress and twirled around for him. He clapped with delight...
And then he informed me that another man was paying my bills these days and to get back upstairs and get ready to go to lunch.
I stuck out my lower lip and pouted all the way up the escalator.
I returned to the dressing room to see it cleaned out of my other choices and handed the saleslady the red dress I was wearing. She took it and didn't say a word.
I stepped out of the dressing room (after pouting a bit more) and she handed me a garment bag----with all 4 dreses inside.
I told her I could not buy them.
She told me that my Daddy had called (boy was he quick to the phone) and told her to charge them to him.
I turned around to find him standing in the sales area laughing. And then I tackled him and covered him with "daughter loves her Daddy" kisses...
He delighted in surprising us that way.
One year for Christmas he presented me with a very large box. It was a week before Christmas. He told me to open it.
Inside was the frothiest, laciest, pink confection of a gown. The lace was delicate and the pink silk taffeta was as gossamer as a butterfly's wings and the color of baby's lips. It gave you a cavity just to look at it, it was so sweet...
I showed the appropriate amount of delight...because I was barely 17 and I loved dresses that made me look like a cupcake.
After he stepped out of the room my stepmother told me the REAL story of the dress.
Apparently he had been wandering about Frost Brothers and as he rode up the escalator he was greeted by a mannequin in the confection dress. He knew I had to have the dress and he wanted to surprise me with it.
So he took the mannequin off the stand and carried it through the store until he found the saleslady helping my stepmother. He began to strip the mannequin of the gown before the horrified saleslady's eyes.
She informed him: "Mr. Shelton...we do not undress mannequins on the sales floor at Frost Brothers!".
He told her to get the damn dress off the mannequin and put it in a box.
She informed him: "Mr. Shelton, we do not put gowns into boxes! They are hung and placed in garment bags!".
He told her to put it in a box...a big box...and he wanted the box wrapped...and I quote here "like they do on tv...so that she unties the ribbon and pulls the wrapped top off the box and can see it inside the box"...
And that is just what he got...a box that had the top and bottom wrapped seperately, with the gown inside, with a huge bow on the outside that I could untie.
He made me do it over and over again...open the box and squeal.
Like I said, he loved giving surprises...and he had a flair for the dramatic.
My dad loved women...good thing since he had 7 daughters.
I'll save the story of me, my daddy and my wedding gown for another day...or I may have already blogged about it...I forget because I have so many daddy and dresses stories.
How lucky was I to have a daddy who loved playing Barbie except that in his case "Barbie" was his daughters?
His love for us took over any embarrasment he might have felt as a cowboy (always in his boots) standing in a fancy department store looking through racks of ribbons, lace, satin, and silk for the perfect dress to give to one of us...
Today made me miss my parents...but even though they aren't with me I can still feel their love...
when I wear my mother's charm bracelet
when I look at their photos
and when I look at the red dress that my Daddy bought me (along with the other 3) oh so long ago at Sakowitz....I still have them....
and so many other times of the day, week, year..
Let your love take over...do something that is out of your comfort zone for someone else...
Inspiration Song: "When Love Takes Over" by David Guetta (and Kelly Rowland)...I love me some D Guetta....