Said Our Final Farewells to My Dad Yesterday

My dad, Art Helmer, passed away on June 6. We held off on memorial services until the end of the month (he was cremated) to allow people to make travel arrangements if needed and because he insisted we not cancel any of our plans we had already set (this included my wife flying out east to see her family and my brother attending a music festival).

Considering we have already been coping with his death for about three weeks, I wasn't really expecting the funeral to be as emotional as it wound up being (I blame the song "Amazing Grace"). But, between the service at the funeral home and the military service at the gravesite, it wound up being an emotionally exhausting day. I was out cold the second I got to bed last night.

Today, of course, is now a start of a new chapter in all our lives without him and making an effort to fill the void he left behind. My oldest daughter and I already have made plans to help out with the Badger Honor Flight this fall as a way of honoring him. When he was diagnosed with lung cancer last year, his desire to go on that flight was a big part of the reason he beat it and traveling to Washington D. C. with other veterans before being honored by hundreds of people when he returned was probably his happiest memory of 2018.

The harder thing will be an effort to emulate him as a person in general. Dad was known for touching people's lives just by meeting them and treating everyone like family. Heck, during his funeral yesterday, the guy who delivered his oxygen not only attended, he stood up and gave a speech (something he apparently has never done for any other patient he's visited). I don't know if I'll ever be able to fill his shoes, but now I want to at least try to be nicer to my neighbors and to strangers.

His obituary can be found here if you're interested in reading it.


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