"How are you doing?"
"My condolences on your loss"
"I'm so sorry for your loss"
"My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family"
Well intentioned, and heartfelt phrases are said in my direction about 50 times a day at this point. They are as required a social contract as "Hello" and "How are you?" Every single one that comes builds me up, and improves my mood. What I can't describe, and what I'm acutely aware of, however, is the weariness with which I respond to these sentiments. When my father passed away, I found myself trying to respond to each outreach personally and individually, because I wanted everyone to know how much I appreciate their words. This became impossible very quickly, and so I prepared a list of stock phrases that I hand out now like candies. They are wearisome, they are cumbersome, and I hate the obligatory exchange it has become.
"Thank you, I really appreciate that" has become my standard reply. Last night while talking with a close friend, what was so refreshing was that we had a great conversation without it ever coming up. When I mentioned offhandedly that I had a lot of things on my brain, he responded with "I know that life," followed by an awkward pause, and "though not exactly. You know, my condolences, and all that." It was so honest, and it was so real. All I could do was laugh, and laugh I did, it was one of the most cathartic exchanges possible. I just want real interaction, and real conversation. People underestimate the power of laughter. You don't need to handle me with kid gloves.
So how am I?
On February 3rd, 2016, my father, William Michael Donovan, passed away after a long battle with cancer. He was 62 years old. We held a memorial service today, Saturday February 6th, 2016, at the Liberty Bell Church in Allentown Pennsylvania, with Pastor Bob Stevens presiding. My brother and I kept the service simple, and easy, just the way he would have liked it. We celebrated the wonderful man he was, with great family and friends, followed by a gathering at the Allentown Brew Works to raise a glass to Michael Donovan.
Treasured family friends spoke or read today, so thank you to Bill Hoffman, Carol Pulham, Bob Stevens, Ce-Ce Gerlach, Mark Smith, Don Ringer, and Joyce Marin for lending their voices to our celebration of Dad.
I wish I had more to say, but it's just been a long week. I'm sure there will be more in the coming days and months.
At the request of many, I'm going to give record of the service we held. Below you will find each of the readings that were read, as well as the full text of my words I spoke in honor of my father.
Thank you to everyone who has been here for me in the last week. Your support has meant the world.
Photo by Danny Bristoll
(fac·to·tum | \ fak-ˈtō-təm) noun - a person having many diverse activities or responsibilities
I find myself hilarious, and I use this blog to stroke my own ego. Thanks for indulging me.