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Celebration of Life

May was rough for me. As much practice as I’ve had living in the Place of Not Knowing (where we all live), preparing for my volunteer role at a GED prep facility and the celebration of my father’s life over Memorial Weekend dipped me deep into the grief that I’ve not expressed–I simply hadn’t been able to feel.

His transition seemed unreal because I was in China last October for three weeks when he left, and I missed everything. Dreary as they can be, burial services do offer some closure.

But this was a Celebration– a family reunion–a 2200 mile round trip.

Cousin Deanna & I grooved to James Brown, Emmylou Harris, Sly & the Family Stone, the Beatles and more on our road trip, and joined my sister, niece and some 20 cousins for a feast at the night before the service.

I shared my book on Orbs www.psychicinvestigators.net/html/orbs.html and asked everyone to be on the lookout in case Dad decided to show up with us in any photos.

Just as Antonie van Leeuwenhoek introduced us to the realm of microbiology with his microscope, digital photography demonstrates other energies around us that weren’t easily visible before.

The next day my niece ran to me: “Antreece! Look at this!”

There it was–a righteous, sparkly orb right above my cousin’s head as if to say, “Honey, you were right! I am here with you!” (Thanks, Dad).

Our weekend together turned out fantastically well–all my amazing, endearing and odd family members trooping like escapees from a Diane Arbus photo through cemeteries to place flowers on our ancestors’ graves. Telling old stories and dropping by my grandmother GeeGee’s Victorian home and the “crik” a couple houses away, where I used to catch crayfish as a kid.

Covenant Lodge 473 of the Free & Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania honored Joseph M. Dickey, Jr., 32nd degree Mason, with a moving Masonic Memorial Service, and several of us mused on what a strong, positive influence my father shared throughout his life.

Happy Father’s Day, a couple weeks in advance. Of course, we know that time is irrelevant in other dimensions and that we should honor our fathers every day.
Dear Dad,

Nobody prepared us for how much we’d actually miss you, because our family, along with all the love, could be contentious. And most of the time you supplied the calm and centered feeling that enabled us to carry on. The Balm in Gilead, so to speak.

I think we were all rather mysterious to each other in our family, bouncing around in our bubbles and occasionally making sticky contact, but then glancing off into other trajectories.

And now all the divergent paths come back together with our larger family to celebrate the life of a man who we admired, we loved, and we now miss.

So much to celebrate about you!

–The Bon Vivant, named Best Boy Dancer at Cambridge Springs HS, who taught me and Susan how to dance by gently reminding us over & over again, “Honey, let me lead.”

–The devoted man of service, donating time, talent and tithes to everything from Boy Scouts to Kiwanis, North Presbyterian Church to the Shriners.

–The goofiest Santa Claus ever–tromping through the wards of children’s hospitals to bring a smile.

–A hearty baritone in the Shrine Chanters & the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus. I’ll always remember your performance of “Carmina Burana” at ArtPark with JoAnn Falletta conducting. And now you’re singing in the angel choir!

–The avid sports fan cheering on your football teams from the living room, rooting, “Go Baby!” despite nary an ounce of interest from the three women in your family.

–The excellent provider and good company man, doing your corporate duty with Armco for 38 years and offering us every advantage, especially our excellent educations.

–Our dear mother’s staunch and valiant support and major caregiver, who loved her truly & dearly in spite of everything and demonstrated the real meaning of the vow “in sickness and in health.”

–Our optimistic cheerleader, the man who always believed we would reach any goal we aspired to, simply because of who we are.

God Bless You Dad. Thank you for being who you are–and continuing your guidance through dreams, hints, and intuition along the way.
WE LOVE YOU!

Isn’t it great when science catches up to what we already know?

Brain scans demonstrate that people in the act of giving have the same reward centers activated in the brain that food & sex activate–releasing dopamine and other neurotransmitters that can stimulate feelings from contentment to euphoria.

In a 2010 study of 4500 adults, it was demonstrated that 89% felt better after volunteering, 73% felt reduced stress, & 68% felt healthier.

And a Harvard researcher discerned that spending money on others universally made people happy, regardless of differences in culture or income level. In fact, spending it on others makes people happier than spending it on themselves!

Perhaps that’s why it felt so great to me to add my shekels to my high school’s endowment fund as part of their Living Legacy initiative. www.hutchisonschool.org

It’s easy to add that codicil to your will–and any organization will appreciate it!