His death was, and is a sad thing. It was and is a relief for him, because he lived in much pain and discomfort and awkwardness of routine for so many years, that I know he was just sick of it all.
His funeral was very nice - military honors, the bagpipes, and a full church service to a packed house. He'd have liked every bit of it.
However...the eulogy was so lauding, so over the top in its praise of Dad, that some of the speakers forgot, I think, the Dad was human. They described him as an annoyingly perfect individual who probably walked on water, and lay on beds of nails for entertainment.
In fact, he was funny, and quirky, and not always laudable.
Dad was quite a bit larger than life - he walked into an empty room, and it was suddenly full.
Yeah - he was human. When one speaker praised Dad's infinite patience, I think every member of the family reared back our heads and mouthed "WHAT?!?!?!?!" Dad had a pretty short fuse and was REALLY cranky at times.
The speakers forgot to mention Dad's motto, which was repeated often -
"Never let the bastards grind you down."
He said it in English and he said it in Latin and he had it mounted over many of his desks throughout his career. And he said "bastards", too, my church friends.
They didn't remind us that he said, "never let 'em see you sweat".
They didn't recount that he taught all the kids and grandkids (and probably his nieces and nephews), how to kill an attacker with one blow. (now, dear reader, I won't describe how that is done, because that may put someone on guard, but rest assured that every member of the Hixson clan is a trained killer - don't mess with us).
They didn't tell the story of how he shot a bat down from the 2 story fireplace in the family room, when he was so sick he could hardly walk even with a walker. (he was worried it would hurt his grandkids - don't you mess with them either. Just because he died last Saturday doesn't mean he can't come back and get you too)
No one ever explained that we were taught never to start a fight. BUT, if someone else started it, we were to by God finish it and finish it good. Hit hard. Hit fast. And it wouldn't hurt to hit low. For a committedly non-confrontational kid, it was good to have that advice. I only had to use it a few times, but was completely victorious when I did.
Dad was smart - very smart. He had many academic and business accomplishments. He was a stubborn, determined, stick-to-it kind of guy who didn't tolerate fools gladly. Hell, he didn't tolerate them at all. Try being a fool in front of him - I dare you. Actually, I wouldn't dare you, because if you're a fool, you'd try it, and my Dad was always heavily armed. Why, we found 3 loaded weapons in the room when he died - 2 within arm's reach. Yeah, buddy.
So, we miss him a lot. It's a hard loss, and I feel selfishly sad about it - selfish, because to want him to stick around would have been to want him to endure more misery, which is unthinkable.
But I miss the Dad who was funny and quirky and a bit of a loose cannon WAY more than I miss the saint who was described at the service.
As Dad would say, Keep smilin' kiddo. And never let 'em see you sweat.
And I'd say, "Love you, Dad"
And he'd say, "uh huh! you bet!"