Sunday, December 15, 2019

A Double Celebration

Dad's Celebration of Life turned out real nice.  It was held in this chapel, where many of his friends had their 'Celebrations' held before him.  We did not get an official count, but our best guess is that there were 70 people there, perhaps a few more, perhaps a few less.  A cousin came down from Yreka (270 miles), mom's older and only living sister and her husband came up from the Modesto area, cousin Donald officiated driving over from Salinas with his wife, and of course Bishop Kevin Romer flew out from the Independence Missouri area.  All of my brothers and sisters and their spouses (those who have spouses) were there, except for my wife Marcia who caught my terrible cold, which I caught from Sandy, whom caught it from Dad.  (I was sick, sick, sick from Monday through Thursday, although doing much better by Thursday night.)  Nearly all of my cousins from Dad's brother's family were there along with their mother.  Dad has one surviving cousin from his mom's side, and he and his wife were there.  There was even a couple who dad married many years ago...he a Christian, she a Jew, and dad married them at her parents had been a LONG TIME since I had seen them.  So family, friends, church friends whom I had not seen since my cousin's funeral a few years ago...we all enjoyed reminiscing about dad.  Dad did not want a service, but said it was ok if 'everyone felt they needed it'...and for those who are left standing in this world, yes, we needed it.  And yes...tears flowed, but mostly tears of joy and appreciation for the love, the understanding, the compassion, the wisdom that dad shared.  Funny stories were told, good memories were shared, and it only lasted one hour.  

Born on April Fools Day....died on Thanksgiving the day before his only brother's birthday....service held on Friday the fitting.  And what did we do the next day???

We all have a huge Burdick Christmas Party!  In all truth though, this is an annual party that Aunt Florence's side of the Burdick family throws each year.  Last year they invited Santa to it, and this year here is our side of the family (except for my brother Bob who catered the event and went home before the pictures since he got there before 7 to start cooking.)

Here is many of the other Burdick family.  Not all of them were able to attend, which is unfortunate.  But it was nice seeing those who were able to come.  (And YES, Santa and his wife are part of this part of the family!)

It was a very good, strongly emotional, stuffed with love, full of joy, with lots of reminiscing and plenty of "Hello" and "Goodbye" hugs type of weekend. 

Many, many years ago, perhaps 30 years ago, mom and dad announced that they were leaving their bodies to 'science' after they died.  When they moved to Missouri, they made plans with a University in the Kansas City area.  When they moved back, they made plans with the University of California, Davis Body Donation Program again.  Well, when dad passed, we gave a card to the nurse...she called them, they took his body down to the hospital morgue, and UC Davis came and got his body.  Monday they called mom and informed us that the body was indeed accepted, and what was going to happen with it over the next month to a year.  They also said that each year they have a memorial service for the the family members of those who have donated, and that once the body had met all of its useful medical needs, it is cremated and buried at sea off the coast near San Francisco.  They said that in a few days they would call us to let us know where we could pick up death certificates, probably in Placer County.  On Thursday they called and told mom we could pick up the certificates up in Auburn, so I picked mom up and within an hour we had 6 certified death certificates (at a cost of $21 each).  IF you might be interested in a program like this, please visit the UC Davis Body Donation Program website so you can get informed about this important program.  I am certain that there is a medical school near you which could use this type of donation.  If you click on the memorial image above, you can read this inscription on the grave marker:

Mortui Vivos Docent  "The Dead Teach the Living"

As for Marcia and I...we are going to rest up from sickness, and pull out of my Sister's backyard on Wednesday and try to get back to Florida before the first of the year...we are not going to make Christmas, but I figure somewhere around the 28th is probably doable.  Back in January or February as we talked about our travel plans for 2019, I told Marcia that since we were going to miss dad and mom's birthdays in April due to Ryan's graduation, and that there was no way we could make it California before June next year due to Ryan and Kaelyn's wedding in Ohio, that we should plan on spending 4-5 months in Citrus Heights so that we could spend time with mom and dad.  Little did we know that this time was so important.  Dad's hospitalization in May followed by 20 days of Rehab in June, his even longer hospitalization in September followed by another 20 days of Rehab in October, and special needs for about 10 days once he got back home to the Assisted Living facility.  I spent hours every day at either the hospital or the rehab, was there to assist with just about every PT and most OT sessions, tried to keep everyone in the family abreast to the situation since most are still working, and those who don't live far away.  My sisters Patti and Sandy attended to much of mom and dad's needs....driving them to Doctor appointments, getting groceries, paying bills, handle issues with care facilities, VA, Doctors and things like that, all the while working full-time being here and being able to step in like I did was a great blessing to them both, and to mom and dad.  That is one aspect that other RVers have found during their travels...and we were happy to be able to step in and do what needed to be done.


  1. Your timing was perfect. So nice that you were able to spend that time with your dad and family. The body donation is interesting. I didn't know you could do that. It's pretty wonderful of your Dad to be so giving, even in death. My condolences to you and your family. I sure hope you and Marcia feel better soon.

    1. The 'body donation' thing comes from mom, a retired LVN who knew that the medical school are in desperate need of bodies to learn and train on. We are getting better each day, I think Wednesday is a good departure day. Wish you were in Tucson we would have tried to see you...but Atwater is just too close to us for a stop. Appreciate the thoughts for the family...


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