It's been a very long 12 hours since I woke up. I'm tired and a little empty, but I wanted to write down all the names of the funeral attendees.
Scott, myself and the kids. (obviously)
Sheryl and Jerry (sis and bro in law)
April (my niece)
Trish and Rodney (my best friend/sister and her husband)
Tiffany, Shanda, and Mel (3 of Nova's nurses)
Mika and Gina (Maeghan and Heidi Heart Foundation founders)
Mika's mother whose name escapes me.
Arlen (the preacher)
Garren and Peggy Dean (landlord)
Mr. Trull (funeral director)
Mrs. Deese (Works for Lakeland Memorial)
Shanda, Tiffany and Mel are 3 of my favorite people in the world. Jane is another nurse who I love dearly, sent her thoughts and love - she worked 12 hours last night, and had to work 12 tonight, so she couldn't make it. I think I might call her in a few minutes. (Ha, I stopped midpost and called her. I adore her, she's wonderful!)
It meant so much to me that they came. The nurses were his family for those 6 weeks, and I love them. There were others that I'd hoped could make it... but I'm sure that most of them were either working, or just getting off of work. I know that they were there in spririt.
There were flowers from Eve (Eve, it was gorgeous, seriously honey, beautiful) Trish, Jimmy (Sheryl's boss - another breathtaking arrangement) and The Maeghan and Heidi Heart Foundation. I wish I could save them all forever.
I wish I'd have had a tape recorder to tape the eulogy Arlen gave. He pointed out the meaning of his nickname "Nova" and the scriptures and overall message were really beautiful. He is one of those people, one who just exudes love and acceptance and faith and an unspoken power that just radiates through you when you're near him.
Mika's sister sent enough food to feed the neighborhood. Seriously. And it wasn't fried chicken, which is the official comfort food in the south, and boy was I glad! It was spaghetti and salad and garlic bread and 3 deserts and enough sweet tea to drown our sorrows... and it was damn good, let me tell you.
We came home, and my family came with us, and we gorged ourselves and had a lot of chaotic conversation, what with 6 kids in the house. Noelle picked up her daughter on the way over, and she's 3... Terra and Maddie had an absolute blast together. It was nice, and loud, and a little crazy, but all in a nice family togetherness sort of way.
After the family left, we went to get some balloons. 8 heart shaped ones, one for each of us. We wrote secret notes to Nova on little cards that we tied to the ribbons, and we took them out in the yard and set them free. Yes, I do know that Nova will never read them, but it gives the kids something tangible to do, something that they can use to say their goodbyes, since we had no viewing and they hadn't seen him in so long.
All the kids' balloons soared - mine and Scott's got tangled in a tree. We refused to go inside until they came loose, so we lit a fire in the firepit and spent some quiet time together, an impromptu campfire night, sans marshmallows. My balloon eventually came free, but Scotts never did, so we took a star shaped balloon from one of the flower arrangements and he did it again. Now that one, it flew forever, and we watched it until it disappeared.
All in all, it was a beautiful day. It wasn't somber and depressing at all. There were a lot of smiles and laughes and love and conversation and hugs. Some tears, sure, but it was more about appreciating the gift of his life than anything else.
I'd have rather the family came for that homecoming party I was planning, but all in all, this was good.
Our digital camera refuses to take outside pictures anymore, it just comes out all white no matter how we set the settings, so we used a regular camera. There are pictures of the casket and flowers, pictures of the balloons, but I have to get them developed tomorrow, and when I do, we'll scan them and share.