Today was one of the hardest days of my life: Daddy's wake. My sweet Daddy died on the 22nd of January on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. A miracle since he dedicated his whole life to the pro-life cause. That was definitely the hardest day of my life.
He had been doing pretty well all day, talking to his friends that came to visit him, so I never imagined that it was his last day with us. Then, in the evening he called his whole family in: Mom, his daughters: Me, Ashley and Drea (daughter-in-law), his sons: Stephen and Bradley, Auntie Nanny, his best friends Mr. Milano and Fr. Tim. I knew he was dying when he did that. Then he turned to each one of us and said something special. He said to me, "I love you Mary, I am so proud of you. I will always be with you." Just a few days earlier he had said to me, "Don't worry Mary, I am always with you. When I go, you know that I will be happy in heaven watching over you all the time. I'll never leave you. I love you." It was beautiful how happy he was he said that.
He had such a beautiful death. Just outside the room, Mrs. Newcombe, Mrs. Greene and Nancy Faller all prayed the rosary. Then we all said the chaplet over and over. I remember him saying to me, "Just make sure to keep praying." Our prayers were certainly comforting him. After saying "I love you" again to everyone in the room, he gave everyone a final loving look. This whole time I had kept telling myself, "He's going to be fine, he'll be healed." Finally I realized that that wasn't going to happen and I said, "It's ok, let go Daddy." Dad raised his eyes up to heaven and I knew in that moment that he was seeing the face of God. Ashley had started saying, "Jesus, I trust in you" and we all joined in. We were all crying so hard but there was a sense of peace in the room: Daddy was free from all his suffering. It was 7:20 pm. While I was laying on my bed crying I know I heard my daddy say, "It's ok." I stopped crying immediately and realized, it is ok, my daddy is so happy now.
I almost forgot, right after Dad died, as we were all sobbing, Stephen walked around consoling all of us, perfectly calm. His face wasn't even his own, it was angelic. When my mom asked him how he was so calm he said "it's not me, it's God." Later he told me he was thinking, "Why is everyone so sad? Daddy's in heaven now."
Today was hard because we had to see Daddy's body again. It was really hard because he was ice cold. It was hard having to admit that Daddy really was gone. But, I knew it was just his body, his spirit was in Heaven. SO many people came, the receiving line was incredible, going all the way around the Church. Thank God for Abby, she was with me the whole time. Neither of us really broke down until the end., when we had to say goodbye to Daddy. But, I know we will see him again one day.
I love you Daddy and I miss you more than words could ever say. Pray for me as I do for you. I know you are with me, your "beautiful little girl". I love you daddy, and I know you are still reading this, even in Heaven.