I have never drank from a fire hose but the last few days have been the emotional equivalent of that. Right now I am so irritated and angry. Yet I am so grateful for the opportunity to reach that point.
I can safely say that I am fine with never seeing my father’s house or the possessions inside it ever again. No regrets. The last day in that house was a couple hours too long. I was ready to scream about an hour before we were scheduled to meet with a couple about the estate (selling all the crap in his house). We stayed for some time after the couple left.
By the time I got back to my mom’s house I was ready to cash in on my plan. Before I left for Salt Lake, I had planned on asking for someone to take me to a store to buy Diet Coke. I have been emotionally drinking it lately. I hate myself for it but it’s the truth. I knew this trip would be particularly trying and the soda would be helpful. It was a few hours before our family dinner party and I was just mad.
My mom was so cute. When I made the general announcement that I wanted to buy a Diet Coke, her face fell a little. She looked at me as if I had spoiled a wonderful surprise and almost whispered, “I got you one for dinner tonight. Can you wait?” How sweet for her to enable me like that! I was so grateful for her gesture. Ed chimed in, “I could use a Dr. Pepper so I’ll take you to get one now.” Candi and my mom asked for candy bars and Ed and I were on our way to the gas station.
We talked a little about our feelings about my dad’s house before pulling into the parking lot. I grabbed a 20 oz. Diet Coke out of the fridge while Ed debated on what he wanted. He chose two of the liter sized bottles of Mt. Dew. Then we filled the candy bar orders and got some bite size candy bars for his kids so they wouldn’t feel left out. We were laughing at our handfuls of binge food. As we stood in line I said, “You can tell people your brother died so don’t judge you. I will tell people my dad died so don’t judge me!” Ed liked that plan. Some days life sucks. Don’t judge me for finding momentary happiness in flavored carbonated water.
Driving back to my mom’s house we supported one another with empathy over the punch to our guts we have each felt over uncles choices. My experience happened many years ago. His is the latest in a series of difficult trials. These last few days have been so hard. I feel so broken coming from a family of unidentified mental illness and poor anger management. Not only that but seeing how my father lived his life is a cross between wanting to throw up and wanting to punch a wall. They’re not my sins but they are still affecting me. If someone ever says that they aren’t hurting anyone but themselves, they’re lying.
That’s as much as I want to say about the negative aspect of the trip. I don’t think I even want to write details in a draft. Some stories aren’t worth remembering. All I will say is that I was right that my children were better off never knowing my father. It hurts so much to learn that but it’s true. My brother, sister, and I all agree we were spared years of frustration. It doesn’t make anything easier but at least our children were somewhat protected from who he was. I wish there was a way to take a big eraser to my mind. Can I just forget where I came from?
There were good parts to the visit. My mom planned a fun activity every night and it was a welcome break from the emotional drama of the day. Friday night we all met at Crown Burger for dinner. I love that place! Heath and I are always jealous of the other for getting to go. The closest we have here is Athena Burger and it’s not even close to the same.
After dinner we went to a concert in the park in downtown Salt Lake City. The band was called Tuesday Sessions. We learned that one of the band members is the son of a wonderful family friend (Neal P.) who worked with my Grandpa. That was pretty cool. Tyson and Deanna had connections to one of the girl band members through a ward member.
The lead singer in this video is Chad the son of Neal. He’s the one with the dark hair. This video is a good representation of what it was like to watch them. They weren’t all dressy since the concert in the park wasn’t a wedding but you get the idea. They were good. They did covers. My favorite was Home.
It makes me tear up every time I hear it. I love this song. Tuesday Sessions did a great job with this one.
After the concert we all parted ways. My mom and I decided to walk around City Creek. That was a lot of fun. The fountain was our favorite. I love fountains.
Saturday night we had a grilled burger and brat party. Dinner was followed by watching the show Man vs. Wild on the big screen outside.
Sunday morning my mom and I went to Music & the Spoken Word at the Conference Center. I felt so far removed from the Spirit that I was extra grateful my mom had planned this activity. Music & the Spoken Word is my favorite show to watch or listen to. It was so soothing to sit there and experience the show live. We sat maybe three rows back from the very front. I could practically see up their noses. Okay, maybe not!
How it works is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the orchestra (that has a name but I can’t remember) run through the entire program like a dress rehearsal. Members from the production team come out and tell the conductor about timing issues and adjustments are made. Then everyone on stage takes a short break while someone MC’s the event more or less.
Mark Eubank, the weatherman I grew up watching, was the MC. He talked about the show and how it has been airing live since the 1920’s. In the summer they move to the Conference Center to accommodate the large number of visitors who would like to watch the show.
Yesterday was the largest group of visitors so far this summer. It almost looked like they setting up for General Conference there were so many people! Pretty much the whole bottom was full. They had limited seating on one side because that’s where Lloyd Newell is recorded sharing the spoken word portion of the program. Nobody was really in the balcony sections.
Mark Eubank guessed based on a show of hands, that there were about 80% out of state visitors. Out of state meaning states and countries. There were several special visitors from several countries that were formally introduced. We ran into two women in the elevator from South Africa.
Then Lloyd Newell talked to the audience for a bit and explained how it’s a live show. He asked us to help by being as quiet as possible. There are about 100 microphones around and any tiny sound would be picked up. He said if we needed to cough, that was the perfect time to do it before they started! I grabbed a stick of gum and chewed away so my throat wouldn’t ruin anything! We were also told that we were to hold our applause until after the entire show was finished.
There were two large screens on either side of the stage where you could see the program as it would appear on TV. Most TV’s are 36 inches while those screens are more like 36 foot screens. They each require two projectors perfectly aligned to project the image without any blur on the screens. Amazing. We enjoyed the show and the audience was silent until the last of the credits rolled on the screens. There was a brief pause to make sure it was all complete and then the room erupted into thunderous applause. It was pretty amazing. And everyone stood up for a standing ovation.
My favorite part was when the choir and orchestra all sang to the audience. The orchestra people held their instruments still while they sang acapella with the choir, God Be With You Till We Meet Again. It was the most beautiful thing ever. Even Mack Wilberg, the conductor, sang to the audience. It was so touching.
We took a minute to enjoy the Conference Center and Temple Square before we had to leave for church. As soon as we got home from church I had time to eat a quick lunch and pack up to catch my flight home.
I felt bad eating two meals in front of my mom. It was Fast Sunday but I am not able to fast. She never complained. She just sat there and talked to me while I ate. She was so nervous when I had to admit that I forgot to put in a continuous glucose monitor sensor before I left. She did not want to see me in the hospital with low blood sugar ever again! I didn’t either. When Ed came to the house on Saturday to meet with the estate people he brought my lunch. My mom sent it with him. I was glad since we didn’t have time to break for lunch that day. I took the microwave manual out and nuked my hot pocket at my dad’s house!
Of all the decisions we have had to make through this process, the only one I felt strongly about was which niche wall would be my father’s final resting place. The guy we worked with at the cemetery was really nice. He took us to a niche wall just behind the office we met with him in. Right off the bat I hated that niche wall. It was so big it didn’t feel comfortable.
Then he took us inside a mausoleum. At first I liked the idea of inside. But it was hot and stuffy with fans blowing hot air. You have to get a key code in order to access the inside which would be annoying for anyone trying to visit his niche. There was a regular niche wall inside that was okay. There was also a display case with glass front niches. They can be decorated as often as the family would like or at least be a way to show off the beautiful box his remains are in. Nice idea but it didn’t seem right. I didn’t like the decorating idea and any drama that would come from it and I didn’t want my dad to look like the one nobody cared about if it was never decorated.
Then the guy said we had to get on a golf cart so he could take us to the niche wall in the center of the garden. As soon as he said center of the garden I knew that was it. I loved it out there. My dad would have loved it out there. The wall was the perfect height and size and it felt so peaceful. I liked the benches nearby too if someone wanted to sit and think. We picked a spot and felt good about it. Heath asked for a picture as we were driving away. The above picture was the best I could do!
A lot was crammed into a 3.5 day trip. It was good. I’m exhausted. I also feel bad that I live so far away. I can distract myself from all of this anytime I want. I feel like this summer has been the best summer ever for my kids and the worst summer ever for my nieces and nephews.
I’m grateful I was able to have heart to heart talks with my mom and sister. I wish I had the time to do that with my brother. I’m grateful I was able to learn more from Deanna. I hate what I learned but I’m glad she told me the stories. I’m grateful for the moments of comic relief with my brother and how he made me laugh on Saturday. One day we will all heal. Today is not that day. I think I will try to relax with a Diet Coke. My dad died. Don’t judge me.