06 Jun 2011

11 months

10 Comments Family, Personal Crap

Last year on July 14th my father passed away.

Yesterday my family and my parents’ closest friends met at the gravesite for a Jewish tradition known as “unveiling”. It traditionally takes place any time after 3 months from the date of the death, but usually around 11 months, never longer than a year.

The tradition involves unveiling the grave marker, saying some prayers, and letting anyone speak who has something to share about the deceased.

It was a very difficult morning.

I hadn’t been to the cemetery since the funeral in July. Β I pass it a lot on the way to friends’ houses or work. Whenever I do I think, “Hi Dad”. Then I think, “Why did I just say that? That’s not where my dad really is. That’s just where his body is.” Then I think of him the day he died. Then I think of the funeral. Then I get angry for thinking of him like that and I remember something great about him like his smile or his laugh or his unwavering love and support. Then I cry. It always, always happens that way.

So yesterday was my first visit back there. Russ and I dropped G off at a friend’s house because we didn’t feel he needed to see us cry like that. We’ll bring him there when he’s old enough to grasp it. As we stepped out of the car we were both overcome by how surreal it is that he’s gone, that it’s been close to a year, that life continues.

My brother ran the ceremony that had been lovingly researched and printed up by my sister-in-law. We sang and prayed and then we spoke of my father. My brother, myself, my mom, my cousin and two of my dad’s best friends made short speeches.

I basically said that, even though I truly ache every day to see my dad again… Even though I am sad and I miss him so much… It is a testament to him that this last year has still been happy and wonderful. My dad was so positive and full of joy and he would be devastated if we didn’t honor him by following in his footsteps. So we have.

My dad’s best friend said that my father was the bravest man he ever met. He was brave in how he faced his illness, how he faced his death, and in how he loved his family and friends. I will remember those words always.

The ceremony was about thirty minutes and it was a perfect, fitting tribute to him. Β It’s another tradition that someone smart once of thought of, because it was at the same time sad and joyous, celebratory and cathartic.

An unveiling is supposed to mark the end of mourning and the beginning of “getting back to living.” I am not ready to stop mourning, but I got back to living a long time ago. And that is because of my beautiful dad.

I love you, Daddy. For always.

written by
Lisa Arch likes being a working actress... but LOVES being a Mom!

10 Responses to “11 months”

  1. Reply David says:


    You did good. Having lost my mother more than a decade ago, I fully comply with and understand your pain. I know for certain that your father is smiling and proud of you and your family for sharing themselves on his behalf. Certain individuals say that once folks have passed, they’ve passed, but they’re still there, giving us guidance and support every day. They’re still cheering us on, still praising us, still giving us structure–it’s just not in a form we in this dimension still cannot yet relate. Just hang on to that good, because it’s always ongoing. They’re still THERE.

    Be good, and God Bless.

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Thanks, David. I believe wholeheartedly that my dad is still here. He’ll always be with us and part of our lives.

  2. Reply Sandy Gilson says:

    Dear Lisa, I have read many of your blogs & always knew you are a great Mom! Beautiful lady, you are also a fantastic daughter, your tribute and memorializing your father is so touching! It’s time to make beautiful memories of your lovely family, allowing yourself to celebrate your father’s life &share them with G! He will be grateful to pass those memories to his family! Keep blogging lady, love reading all your tweets & Blogs! Have a relaxing evening with your family! : )

  3. Reply AL says:

    What a lovely tradition and how wonderful for the family and friends to be able to, once again, gather togerher for the single purpose of honoring someone so loved, respected and admired. You are your Father’s Daughter, through and through πŸ™‚ Hugs to You and Russ.

  4. Reply Sherry says:

    Lisa, you are a truly wonderful daughter. My dad died.31 years ago when he was 35. It’s still painful even though we do keep on living. This year I decided to pay a tribute to my dad and got a tattoo of a teardrop with a banner that says Dad through it. It’s not big and I’ve never had a tattoo before, but it means a lot to me. I appreciate you sharing your story. Thank you πŸ™‚

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Wow, Sherry. 35??? And I thought my dad dying at 69 was young!! That must’ve been so painful for you. I secretly did the tattoo idea. πŸ˜‰

  5. Reply Christine says:

    The depth of your emotion is touching and beautiful. I’ve been thinking about what to say in response and keep coming up blank. Had we been face to face as you spoke rather than typed those words, I’d have offered you a hand to hold, a shoulder to lean on, a big hug. But all I have to offer across cyberspace are my thoughts and my words. Know that I hold you in my heart and offer you peace, comfort and healing strength.

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Thank you, Christine. I appreciate it so much. I’m leaning on your virtual shoulder. πŸ™‚

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