Sunday, February 22, 2009

What's In Your Wallet? (Writer's Workshop)

When my dad died, I looked all over for his wallet but couldn't find it. I looked in his dresser drawer where he always kept it and it wasn't there! I looked in the box where he kept his money and it wasn't there. I looked on the dining room table that he always used as his main "headquarters" but it wasn't there either. It turned out he had it on him, in his pant's pocket when he died but I didn't find it. At the time, I was very distraught and didn't even think about going through his pockets.

Because he died at home and hadn't been to the doctor in the last month, the coroner's office had to be called to determine the cause of death and sign the death certificate. Normally, his regular physician could sign but in January, the day of his appointment, he had diarrhea and so we had to cancel it. The weather was so cold and snowy that he held off scheduling another one. Since he wasn't very steady walking and his legs were pretty weak, he didn't want to go out if it was icy which made sense. However, the paramedics and a cop grilled me with a lot of questions, implying that I might have killed him! It's regular procedure to investigate to make sure no one came in and killed him. The house had to be sealed and I wasn't even allowed in to feed his upstairs cats for a day so I put out extra food and water for them.

His body was taken to the Coroner's office so I didn't get his wallet back until after his funeral. The Coroner sent it to the funeral home so I had to go there yet again. He only had $30 in it (which is more than I have in mine by the way) but I cried when I saw what else was in there. He had a picture of my mom from when they were engaged (1948) and two of me from when I was in first grade (1958) and my high school graduation picture (1970)!
Tears of joy welled up in my eyes. I realized at that particular moment how much he loved us and felt very blessed. It was such a great thing to find in his wallet. My mom had died six years before him but he never, ever showed any interest in any other woman.

I have his picture on my desk at work and by my computer at home. I have our family picture on top of my wardrobe and like seeing these every day. I miss both my parents very much and probably always will the rest of my days, but life goes on and one day we'll be together again. In the meantime, I find great comfort in knowing they are in heaven together with Jesus my Lord, with new bodies and no more pain or sorrow. What a wonderful God we have who made this possible and gives us hope. (I Thessalonians 4:13-18, I Corinthians 15:42-58, I Peter 1:3-9, Rev. 21:4--"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.")

Do you carry a picture of your loved ones with you? Come to think of it, I need to add a picture of Gerard in my wallet. If I die before him, I'm sure it will please him to know I loved him enough to carry his picture with me (I have one of my first cat, Moe--better add Gerard!).

UPDATED 2/19/10: Writing about one of your February pictures was a prompt for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop this week.


tashabud said...

That is a tender story, Karen.
It appeared that he loved you both very much.


Anonymous said...

How horrible you were treated during that time of grief, I don't care if that was protocol or not it's deplorable and sad. I stopped carrying a wallet or pocketbook years ago when it got stolen and was found in the dumpster down the street minus money, but with all credit cards and license in tact.

Secondary Roads said...

I have three photos in my wallet. They are all of a red-haired girl. Our only grandchild. There are two photos above my desk. The large one is of our immediate family. The other was taken at a family reunion. If my wife were not here, I would certainly carry her photo too.

I love to read your accounts. Thanks for sharing this one.

Michelle said...

What a sweet post. Sounds like you had wonderful parents. Thanks for sharing.

Sandee said...

What a beautiful story. Your dad sounds like he was a real treasure. Such a touching tribute too.

Have a terrific day. :)

The Author said...

Karen, I think it's horrible you were even a suspect for one second! I'm glad the cats didn't starve while they were figuring things out.
When my husband was killed, I received a pouch from the hospital with his wallet and items he had in his pockets at the time of his death. I couldn't open the pouch for months and when I saw the wallet, I couldn't bring myself to look at it for a few more months. It was just too painful. And, when I could open it, there were the pictures, just the same as your Dad had and it broke my heart even more because of the loss of a wonderful husband.
Grief is painful and I'm glad you found comfort in the pictures and it helped you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. It's wonderful to have hope in Christ during such difficult times isn't it. I work for The City Mission and I was delighted to hear that your Dad was saved through this ministry. We are currently collecting stories to celebrate our 100th Anniversary which takes place Oct 2010. If you have stories or info that you want to share regarding your Dad's connection with the Mission, please call me (Debby) at 216-431-3510 ext 248. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

It sounds like he really loved both of you.

Susan Cook said...

Great post Karen! That's nice he had you and your Mom's pictures in his wallet. I have a bunch of pictures of my kids in my wallet. Don't have one of my husband though - lol.

The Florida Furkids said...

I had to go through a lot of the same things when my Dad passed away. Since he had been under doctor's care and they sent the photos they took to that doctor, they didn't seal the house. I felt the same way you did, like they were interrogating me.

I have his wallet in my nighstand with the $40 he took our of the ATM machine the day before.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your comments! Sorry the verification thing wasn't working right for awhile--I disabled it now.

Tashabud & Anne: He did--we loved him too!

Jude: It was deplorable! I couldn't believe it! Like I didn't have enough to deal with already, then they wanted me to get the cats out too yet. I had no where I could take them. That's something you found your stuff. I never carry much cash on me and my purse is in a big bag along with my lunch and a book.

Secondary Roads: If you like this blog, you would like my book! That's great you display your family pictures.

Michelle: I love to write about my fond memories of my parents.

Sandee: My dad was amazing and wonderful!

Mountain Woman: It was such a nice surprise to me when I found those! I now have added our wedding picture along with Moe and Manny but still need a picture of Spunky Doodle for my wallet yet.

Anonymous from the City Mission: Wow, your 100th yr. anniversary! Unfortunately, I don't really have any stories other than what I've written on my blog about my dad's connection to the City Mission.

Sue: Better add one of you husband too! He really should be tops on your list.

Furkidsmom: Then you know how bad I felt and angry all at once. He had a little money too which I took out. I do keep the wallet in my dresser drawer though with those pictures in it. It's amazing how much sentimental value plays into what things we keep.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Anonymous said...

That's very sweet. When I was a kid, I found my first grade photo in my dad's toolbox and I was so happy to see that he wanted my picture around when he was working.

Homestay Mama said...

Touching post! I'll be back to read more of your posts.

Anonymous said...

This brought tears to my eyes. I still miss my Dad an awful lot.

Anonymous said...

Anwar--I'm glad you like my blog and appreciate your comment.

Cindy--I see you had a similar experience. Nice that your dad had your picture with him while he worked!

Homestay Mama--Glad to hear you will be back to read more! Now I'm off to visit your blog.

Karen--Sounds like you had a good relationship with your dad too. I'll follow this up with a happy post that won't make you cry!

Theta Mom said...

What a sweet story! I'm sorry to hear about your loss, but it must warm your heart knowing he carried you around like that.

Happy Saturday Sharefest. Visiting from SITS!

Elizabeth D. said...

Happy Saturday Sharefest! This was a beautiful post. I also lost my father a few years ago, and going through his wallet was very touching for me too. But you're right, I need to carry a picture of my husband in my wallet, I don't! I'm so sorry for the loss of both of your parents. What a lovely blog you have, it seems like a fitting tribute to a special dad.

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

Theta Mom: It sure does "warm my heart." I was so touched! Thanks for stopping by!

Elizabeth: Thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment. Hope you get your husband's picture in there soon.

Kerry said...

Very sweet story Karen. Thanks for sharing such a heart felt moment with us. :)

"My Funny Dad, Harry" Book Giveaway

Congratulations to all the winners of the giveaway for "My Funny Dad, Harry" at Red Pine Mountain. I am so happy that four of my regular commenters won! Read what Tim thought of it at Everyday Living.