Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gitz Bits 2010: Filling Time

I am so tired of saying this phrase:

“I don’t know how to do this.”

But, people... it’s coming out of my mouth all the time. I don’t know how to do this life without Dad. I don’t know how to grieve. I don’t know how to be normal. I don’t know how to feel sane when my emotions are all over the place.

I don’t know how to make a Gitz Bits post summing up the past two weeks. I try to make these posts light and silly and still truthful. But I don’t think light and silly are going to cut it. Truthful I can do.

So here it goes.

IMG_0430The rest of these photos are ones I just randomly went around and took today, but this first photo is an old one. It’s my favorite one of Dad, and I wanted you all to see it.

I took it the last time I was home, back in 2007. Mom had gone to bed, and Dad and I were up watching the end of some random Hallmark movie. I was sorting through photos on my camera and I turned to take a photo of him.

He did NOT want to pose. I told him that I promised I would delete the picture right after I took it... that I was just wanting to test the settings on the camera. He looked at me and stopped just short of rolling his eyes.

He totally knew better.

And then I said something drippingly sarcastic - something to the effect of, “Oh, come one. You love me. Just one picture.”

And he turned and smiled and gave me this look.

God, I love that man.

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IMG_0818This is the funeral card that I was honored to write his obituary for. It was one of the little things I could do to help from here. It reads:

Michael John Frankl was born in Algona on May 3, 1944. As the son of Gerald P. and Rita (Kunkel) Frankl, Mike grew up in the Irvington area, graduating from Garrigan High School in 1962.

Mike married the love of his life, Jane Grandgenett, on August 8, 1964, at St. Benedict Catholic Church. They raised, taught and loved their six children on a hog farm near Irvington, passing on the life lessons they learned in their own farm upbringings. Mike was proud to be a member of the Kossuth County Pork Producers Association and presently was on the Heartland Mutual Insurance Board. In earlier years, Mike was named the first Outstanding Young Farmer in Kossuth County by then Gov. Ray.

Mike was a devoted husband, father and grandfather, never putting anything above the needs of his family. At the same time, he was an unwavering friend who loved every person he met, giving of his time and his self. Bishop Garrigan School and St. Cecelia Catholic Church were very important to him as he served on many of their boards and committees.

Mike’s life work was serving and loving his family. He savored the moments of family gatherings at home, time spent at the lake and being the proud spectator at his grandchildren’s activities. They always knew him by his cheers and that booming whistle. Mike died Friday, July 9, 2010, in Brainerd, Minnesota, enjoying time with family and friends.


IMG_0880The first photo is a candle used at the wake, and the second shows the back of the funeral program... there were seven priests and three deacons on the altar celebrating Dad’s life.

IMG_0919And this is the register people signed... over a thousand people attended my dad’s funeral. And I have no doubt every one of them felt as though they were special to him.

Because they were.

Dad made people feel they were important, because he made them important both in the way he spoke to them and in the way he listened. There were fewer handshakes than hugs in my dad’s world.

IMG_0922I’m throwing this one in, lest you all think Riley suddenly stopped being a poser. Trust me, in every one of these photos, he’s sitting directly next to whatever object I’m photographing. And insisted on Cheerios after each one.

Some things never change. :)

IMG_0952This is the rosary that sits by my bed. The one I’ve used many times over the last few weeks. The one I grabbed when I Skyped the funeral home to see Dad for the first time and say a rosary with my immediate family.

It was the first moment since hearing about Dad’s death that I felt like I could breathe for a minute.

IMG_0964And this is my homage to the makers of Puffs Plus. Their soft tissues have been much appreciated.

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Ok, these next two photos are ones I didn’t know existed until a few days ago when a friend on Twitter made reference to them. Alece was keeping everyone apprised as to when the wake and funeral were scheduled, and I was so focused on what was happening on my computer screen I was totally oblivious to what she was doing.

Honestly, I lived through those days, and I still find these photos sad to look at. But, as I always say, it just is what it is. And I’m so grateful Alece let people know what was happening when I wasn’t in any shape to do it myself. The prayers, I have no doubt, made a world of difference.

129384286This was me Skyping with people who were at Dad’s wake. I thought I would just be watching, so I didn’t worry about putting on makeup or doing my hair. But as people found out I was on the computer, I ended up turning on the camera and talking with them. I am so grateful I had that chance to reconnect with so many... and apparently I got over my embarrassment of the steroid weight and my paranoia of being seen with no make up. Some moments are just too important to care.

129788138And this is the photo Alece took when Dad’s funeral was about to start. My Aunt Ally came, as well as many of my friends in town, and we celebrated Dad’s life together. I’m so grateful they all were there.

IMG_0935Dad’s funeral was also videotaped, and I’ve been so grateful for the opportunity to watch it and see things I would have otherwise missed. It’s really hard to watch, but it would be harder sitting here and not knowing all the details.

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IMG_0745This photo Cracked. Me. Up. I was downloading the ones I took today off my camera and this one was the first that popped up. I’m assuming Susie must have grabbed my camera one of the afternoons she was over here with Jonboy. And I know exactly why she took it.

It was probably close to 100 degrees outside that day, and the poor kid was freezing inside my house! I keep it pretty cold in here so I can breathe better, and everyone who walks in either grabs a sweatshirt or a blanket.

Wimps. :)

IMG_0706The night before the wake, my brother Steve drove down for a quick visit with my three oldest nephews.

How cute are they?

Alece took this photo for the same reason. They all tried to act tough, until Spencer finally broke down and grabbed one of my sweatshirts... then it was a free-for-all with them grabbing any blanket in sight.

We’ve gotta toughen these boys up a bit...

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The rest of these are some gifts that people have given me to remember my dad. I have been inundated with kindness, including a friend’s favorite blanket sent over the miles just to wrap me up. And a blogger who sent sand from her home in Hawaii to give me a piece of the world beyond my doors. And two stuffed dogs from two little boys who own my heart.









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Then there are the cards, bringing love from all of you.


The card below was made by my friends’ kids...


Complete with their handprints and the nicknames I call them...


And the sweetest note of love I’ve ever read.


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And this is the photo that sums it all up. Mom and Dad. Together. A life well lived and two souls well loved.

We should all be so blessed.

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Thanks for once again sharing my week with me! Click on the button below if you want to go to Jessica’s site and check out the other participants showing off their weekly photos as well:

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