On Friday morning my dad quit breathing. He just never woke up. A couple of weeks before this, God showed me how He would take Dad; therefore, I was able to prepare myself and Mom. My sister, Kathy, did great It was all very peaceful. No one got upset – everyone was ready. That was the easy part.
Then all of the family started showing up. The Barkers are quite a clan! One cousin said that he had never seen so many "type A" personalities in one room. They are loud and fun and loving. Saturday, we made all of the arrangements for Dad’s burial without any problems. There was no arguing or disagreements – once again all was peaceable. Craig put together a beautiful power-point slide show of Dad’s life with my Forester Sisters CD playing in the background. He had a beautiful picture of Dad that showed his piercing blue eyes enlarged to put near the casket. People dropped by the house bringing food and condolences.
Sunday afternoon we had a visitation time at the funeral home. The place was packed with old friends, old students, and family. Many started their conversations with "Your dad did this for me…" I took a phone call from a Black lady named Liberty Cotton. She told how Dad had helped her with her five children and went on to say what a fine man Dad was. There were emails sent to the funeral home telling how Dad helped them to stay in school, how fair and just he was, and how he loved his students. It was all pretty awesome.
Monday the funeral went off without a hitch. Once again there were lots of folks there. This time, not only were there friends of Dad’s, but friends of our family. It was not a sad funeral. Most of the talk had to do with Dad the man and his life. Afterward, a few ladies from my fellowship brought a meal to the house and had it all set up for us when we returned from the funeral. It was all perfect. The house was full of people most of the afternoon. Then they started trickling away.
Tuesday around lunch time there were just a few of us left at the house doing odd jobs like moving flowers, cleaning out the fridge, and vacuuming. My Uncle Bobby said, "Let’s go get a hamburger." Although there had been weepy moments for the last several days, this was a tough one. We no longer had to think "what about Dad – who will stay with him". It was as if reality set in. My dad is gone. No longer will he help us. No longer will he help others. No longer will he just be at the house. No longer will he give us that silly grin. No longer will he be sick. No longer will we need to take care of him. It is amazing how I can be sad and glad at the same time. Yet, mostly, I will just miss him terribly.