Sunday, July 12, 2009
More Than A Guest Book
Being required to plan a funeral right after someone dies is cruel and unusual punishment. Yes, I know, arranging a final resting place for the deceased loved one is necessary...but putting together a thoughtful celebration of the person you love is incredibly difficult when you are still trying to register the fact that they are actually dead.
Phil died on a Wednesday night at 6:18PM. Hours before he died I didn't know the first thing about planning a funeral...and then suddenly there were decisions to be made immediately upon hearing that the man I loved wasn't coming home, ever. What funeral home would I like them to call? How was I supposed to know?
I have signed many "funeral guest books," but the practice didn't seem odd to me until I needed to decide whether or not we would have one at Phil's service, if the book would be at both services or just one, and what kind of book would I like? I distinctly remember trying to focus on what kind of book I would like. My husband is dead. What kind of book would I like? My husband is dead. Who cares?!
I am blessed with a spectacular family. When I think of what angels on earth must be like, this group of people is what I imagine. So, I never had to choose. My sister picked a book, my mother planned the services, my dad ran errands all day long, my other six siblings did every job that I was not capable of even thinking about, much less accomplishing. With the exception of one. The guest book. Yep, I sat at my kitchen table while chaos flooded my house and made this blue guest book into a photo album of our lives together. I couldn't explain to anyone why I needed to do this, but I knew that I did. The pages are smeared with tears, spelling errors abound, and you will encounter all kinds of crazy grammar...but every page is filled with both sorrow and love. Next to the photos are personal messages written by our friends and family about the man that touched so many hearts. And the book I could imagine no use for has become one of my most treasured possessions. So anytime you see a photo page that looks like the one above, you'll know I am sharing a piece of both the life, and the death, of Phillip Hernandez. Love you honey.