My life this past week has been a strange mix of tremendous sadness, fond reflection, and detached organization. This post is a bit scatterbrained, but so am I.
As I mentioned before, I’ve been working at getting things straightened out for the services and getting the legal part of his estate settled. We settled on having his funeral next Thursday at 4:00 PM in his hometown of Pawhuska. I spent some time with a lawyer there in town, establishing myself as the overseer of his estate and amassing all of his debts to ensure nothing gets missed. Mom, Tyler, and I spent Wed-Fri going through Dad’s place; sorting, tossing, and saving things as needed. When I returned home, I wrote my speech for Dad’s service. Practiced it. Went through our picture box and extracted every photo that featured my father. Today, the three of us went through them, selected the ones we wanted for the presentation, and I assembled it onto a DVD.
Going through his place and his photos weren’t as hard as I expected. It allowed me to access memories and past times, placing myself there instead of here. I’ve talked to many people that I hadn’t talked to in years, most expressing condolences and shock. A lot of interactions are awkward. What do you say to a son that just lost his father? How do I go on and pretend my entire life hasn’t just changed? I hate being the guy that just talks about his sadness and breaks down at random times. I understand it’s necessary, but I don’t like it.
I created a Facebook account for my father. It will allow me to post to his wall when I think about him & visit pictures of him any time I want to. Right now I’m very day-to-day as it is. I tell myself, “Dad’s busy, I don’t get to talk to him today.” or “I’m just borrowing his car. He’ll need it back soon.” I look over at his cowboy hat, and although it’s my size, I know it will always be too big for me.
I can’t go ten minutes with “The Living Years” or “Cats in the Cradle” trying to pry into my brain and turn on the waterworks. Sometimes I scream. I have all of these emotions going through me and am learning how to deal with them on the fly. But not once have I felt angry. I have not felt that life is unfair, regardless of how events have turned out. I am very thankful for the time I spent with my father, and know that my grief takes the place of his peace.
The last time my Dad called me was on January 5th at 4:13 PM. We talked for six and a half minutes as I helped him get to my workplace to drop off a copy of the truck’s insurance verification, which had been stolen a few days prior. I was so angry the truck got broken into. But, now, those vandals are the source of the last time I saw him. We talked for maybe two minutes as he dropped that off and a framed picture for mother. He complained about driving at night. We hugged and he left.
I’ve learned a few things about Tony Martin in the last few days. He loved Altoids. He spent his nights at home watching old home movies. He liked James Taylor. He kept photos of his kids in drawers and on shelves where only he could see them. He loved working in grocery stores; not just for them but actually IN the store, interacting with people. He meant a lot to a lot of people.