Being a Funeral Director…and a Dad

Field hockey pictureLast week my older daughter, Kelsie, had a doctor’s appointment in St. Peters, MO.  As a student athlete at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO, she was suspected of having a stress fracture in her foot.”Dad, could you please drive over here and take me?  I’m not sure that I can find it,” she said.”I’ll see if I can.You know my schedule changes in a hurry,” I replied.   But deep down, I knew I’d be there.  She is my daughter, you know.  Like all professionals who have their priorities in order, family comes first, especially “daddy’s little girls”.

So in spite of my busy day, I dropped what I was doing, but got a later start than anticipated.  Although my foot always tends to be heavy when driving, I found myself pushing even harder to get there in time.  That’s not a good thing to do when driving by St. Louis International Airport (Lambert Field).  You see, they consider that an “Accident Reduction Corridor” (not a construction zone), and speeding fines are double.  So $202.00 later, I met her in St. Charles, bought her lunch and took her to the doctor.  The speeding ticket put a damper on things, but being able to spend time with her made it a good day.

Yesterday started off slowly, but by the afternoon picked up considerably.  You see, I had a visitation starting at 2:30 p.m.  At 1:00 a gentleman called and asked if I was in the office.  I said yes, so he told me he’d like to come over “now” and make prearrangments.  I thought well, 90 minutes will be enough time to get things done, so no problem.  Apparently “now” to him meant 45 minutes, even though he was local.  Needless to say, his appointment and my visitation overlapped a bit, but no one seemed to mind.  But in the middle of it all, I received a text message.  When I saw it was from Kelsie, I did what my younger daughter, Olivia does with mine – I ignored it.  Afterall, I was busy with two families.

However, I couldn’t wait to get to the point in the conference when I had to make copies of everything, which would give me the opportunity to read her text. I wasn’t worried about her, but nonetheless felt obligated to address it if necessary.  It read, “Dad, please call me.  I have a problem”.   So I called her immediately.  Her “problem” was a parking ticket.  She was upset because it was a $75.00 fine, there was nowhere else to park, she was in a hurry, the truck parked in front of her was double-parked, etc…  With all the drama a 20 year-old female college student could muster, she bent my ear non-stop until I was able to interrupt and say, “Kelsie, as long as you’re not in a wreck or in a hospital with an emergency appendectomy, let me deal with this later.”

Please be patient.  My point is near.  One of the main reasons for making prearrangements is to “not be a burden on the kids”.  Thomas Lynch, an award winning author, published poet and funeral director in Milford, MI disagrees with this notion, as do I.  Why not be a burden on the kids, he feels.  They are certainly a burden on us.  But they are a good kind of burden….the kind of burden that makes a parent feel alive, needed, treasured and loved.  As we endure sleepless nights when they are babies, kiss the ouchies when they are toddlers, explain death to them when Grandma dies, or worse yet, a little friend, to when they drive off the first time after getting their driver’s license, get in their first accident, don’t answer their cell phone or when they get a parking ticket, they are burdens.  But, as a parent, they are burdens I am blessed and priviledged to endure.  They are burdens which allow me to make a difference in their lives.  They are burdens which remind them that it sure is good to have me around.

So when it’s time to plan my funeral, I’ll let the burden fall upon their shoulders. I trust  they can handle it.   Afterall, they owe me one.