When I was down in Santa Barbara, I had a voice mail waiting for me Saturday morning. All it said was "call me - I'm at mom's -- Sony" . Ended up making Kev pull over the side of the road (on our way to ren faire) and called her. Oh man, found out that Dad Burns had sufferered a heart attack Thursday night and had a 2nd one early Friday and had passed away. At that point, going to faire was about the last thing I wanted to do. Talked to her a bit and I told her I'd call her that evening. I hate that helpless feeling when there's nothing you can do, nothing that could make somebody feel better. Being far away - and can't even do something as simple as giving a hug. Damn.
I've known Sony & her family since I was 14. We'd basically adopted and been adopted by each others' parents, calling them Mom & Dad. My Mom, much to her discomfort, was escorted down the aisle during Sony's wedding ceremony. When some people had asked, who Mom was, Dad Burns jokingly said "Oh, she's my other wife". Yeah, that was the type of person Dad Burns was. The jokester, big time. Everything from putting saran wrap on toilet seats to getting front row seat at a show by telling the maitre de that I was an exchange student and it was my first show in America. 1) he had told me to just nod when he spoke to me in Japanese. 2) I don't speak Japanese. 3) trying to keep a straight face while he was doing this... verrrry difficult *grin*. He was also the person you could go to for great big bear hugs and an uncritical ear. He was a man of very high principles - he quit his job the day that the owner of the company told him to get rid of an employee because she was "black". Not the easiest of things to do - especially when you're the sole support of your family.
I haven't seen them in a while - talked on phone as recently as last May, but actually visiting them - it's been several years. He's had a slow form of leukemia and has had several strokes. She has congestive heart failure and cancer.
At the memorial service, gave Mom Burns a hug and she said to me "good, now all my kids are here" She also said to me in a lost voice that "Johnny got me to marry him by telling me that since he was 5 years younger, that he'd always be there" They'd been married 47 years - would have been 48 in September. It's funny some of the things you remember - Sony & I would roll our eyes when we were teenagers cuz they were so ga-ga over each other.
So Wednesday night, I listened to Dave as he did the service (Dave's a Methodist minister). Most of the stuff I knew, some of the stuff I didn't. I didn't know that he had defied his father to join the navy. At one point in the service, people were asked to share their memories of Dad. I shared some of the practical jokes he had pulled. Sony shared about how we had almost gotten kicked out of the movie theatre cuz her Dad was having such a good time watching Animal House. He was throwing popcorn during the food fight scene and during the zit scene - well, just won't go there. Even after 25 years... nope nope nope. *sigh*
Poor Paul - he's 15 and was very close to his grandpa. I don't think it really hit him until that evening. He was just unconsolable. 10 year old Tadesse just needed lots of hugs. Shawna wanted to come home, but her parents and especially grandma said "no, grandpa would have wanted her to continue"
I hadn't cried for him until that evening. Wasn't able to do it when I found out - usually do most of my mourning in private. At least during the service there was lots of laughter. He did love to tell a good story.