Categories: Community, Faith, Family



Is is really one week from today my dad died?

We are in the phase where our language is scattered with phrases like, Can you believe it was two weeks ago we took Dad to the ER? Or Last Monday we moved him to hospice and this Monday we had his memorial service. Or Was it just a week ago we sat around his bed eating lunch, holding his hand and chatting?

Time is both disorienting and a comforting marker.

Here’s the thing “they” don’t tell you about death, when you are the immediate family, the day after your person has died you will be planning a gathering akin to a wedding. Except it is nothing like a wedding other than there will be a service, flowers, food, outfits to be thought of, music to be chosen, people to inform and invite, a power point to get together (which means photos to go through), an obituary and eulogy to be written, and phone call after phone call to be made.

Each path is influenced by the person and circumstances and our path involved Dad being relatively young (74), his death relatively shocking — somewhere between a heart attack or accident and a drawn out illness — and he was still an active participant in life.

Dads last days (2014) 146We had three main goals for his memorial service

  1. Give people a sense of his life — knowing  people might know this slice or that piece, but not know the overarching story
  2. Weave stories and honoring together
  3. Balance mourning and celebrating while pointing to the hope Dad has in Christ

And all of the minor goals like having enough food, not having flowers that were too “funereal,” and sticking enough tissues in your purse.

We thought maybe 150 to 200 might be able to attend. It was (word of the week) shocking to walk into the sanctuary and see over 250 people. The memory of so many giving up a Monday morning to be with us, is one that we will all have. But Mom, in particular as she has commented several times  on it. It is a blessing to a wife’s heart to know her husband’s life rippled out far and wide.

Dads last days (2014) 135After walking in to a bagpipe version of Amazing Grace, we said the Lord’s prayer together and two pastors spoke briefly with a word from the Old and New Testament. We sang Blessed Assurance and my sister Laura wrote a stunning eulogy I’ll share later (and if you don’t want to read it, no problem, but several people have asked for copies and linking it to a blog is the easiest way to get it out), my brother-in-law Del shared the impact Dad had had on him (and the sorrow he’ll have being the lone surviving male in our family :)), and I shared five life lessons learned being raised by Tom Young. We opened the mic for folks to share memories, all sang How Great Thou Art and ended with the bag piper leading us out to Ode to Joy.

A niece slid her hand into mine on the way down to the reception and said, “Aunt Amy, I’m so glad you’re here and not going back to China.”

The reception was part reunion, part reconnecting, part offering of condolences, part story telling, and all Tom Young. The man loved a good party! It was also part weird, for us, his family knowing that we’ve helped host other parties in his honor — birthday, anniversary, retirement and after this, there will be no major parties to plan for him.

Out of town guests who came in support of me from college and my days in China

Out of town guests who came in support of me from college and my days in China

Yesterday was airport day and the house is quiet. Was it just last Tuesday Laura and Sue arrived? We each have foggy brains as one sister forgot her purse at the house when she went to the airport, another had challenges covering a Valentine’s box with paper for her daughter, and this has taken a ridiculous time to type and I have no sense of whether it is of any value or pure crap. We are quick to offer grace to one another reminding each our husband, dad, father-in-law, brother, friend, and grandpa has died, it’s OK to be fuzzy for a while.

family at service

This was taken after the memorial service and reception were done. Thank you so much for your comments, cards, emails, flowers, calls, and love expressed in so many ways. I love the scripture that reminds us, we do not mourn as those who have no hope. We are mourning and will continue to do so, but it is laced with hope and love and faith.

On Monday morning Mom commented how strange it is to get dressed for your husband’s memorial service. I said it was supposed to be strange! Death was not the plan, life was. Again, thank you. Mercies woven in with mourning.

With blessing, Amy

Leave A Comment

  1. Connie Gibson February 12, 2014 at 11:29 am - Reply

    My heart and love goes out to you Amy and your precious family. Believe me I DO understand, having just experienced everything you are talking about this last June. I love you.

  2. Erin February 12, 2014 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    When I got to work after the reception, my coworkers asked me, rather hesitantly, how it went. I had to smile – even though there were tears, the service was incredibly uplifting. Learning new things about your father was fun. I am amazed at how all three of you used humor to let his personality shine through. I was so blessed to be among those who loved Tom Young.

  3. David Rupert February 12, 2014 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    Prayers and love to your family through all this. Embrace the memories!


  4. Karin B February 12, 2014 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    I love you, Amy. Thank you for putting into words all you have been going through with your dad’s death and the beginning stages of loss and grief. You have been in my thoughts every day, and I am thankful you have such a wonderful support network around you.

    On a totally different note, oh hey wow. I had COMPLETELY forgotten that is Del S up there and he is your BIL. Holy cats. It is a trip to see him and his and your sister’s kids. I don’t know how I could have put that out of my mind for so long, but there it is — totally re-made the connection when you wrote about it up there. It’s just that you and Del were two separate worlds for me that happened to weirdly intersect. :-)

    Please take good care of yourself in this time, and as soon as you are ready to expand into connecting with other people once more and into meeting up with one another, even if to just have a little meltdown or anything, I’m here. No pressure. Just an offer to be whatever you may feel you want to be with no preconceived notions or judgement from me, eh? ;-)


  5. Mark Allman February 12, 2014 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    I appreciate all you have shared here… letting us be a part of honoring your father from afar. I am thankful you had such a great dad. You honor him well Amy.

  6. Nancy Eden February 12, 2014 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    Hi Amy – thank you for sharing with everyone. I will continue to pray for you, your Mom and the family. These are hard days but the Holy Spirit is with you,comforting and supporting you all. I only know your family from your blog and the things Cynthia has told me. From this I know your Dad put all the love he had into his life with his family. What a blessing that is especially now; for those memories of his love will comfort you after the haze lifts. Continue to allow God to carry you through. Blessings Nancy Eden

  7. Marilyn February 12, 2014 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    Amy – so much love to you. You must miss him so much. Death sucks. That’s all.

  8. Jennifer February 12, 2014 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    Thank you for posting what you have. Thankful that you have such wonderful support around you. I know what it is to walk through this without that.

  9. Susan February 12, 2014 at 3:23 pm - Reply

    I needed to hear all you had to share today. It was not a waste of typing. Thank you.

  10. Laura February 12, 2014 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Amy give-me-the-mic young, your five life lessons was a beautiful, poignant, sensitive, funny piece of writing that so beautifully captured dad. I’m so grateful for our whole family and that we could so easily mourn and celebrate this ordinary man who lived such an extraordinary life. Such on honor to be his daughter. XO

  11. Mike February 12, 2014 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    As usual, Amy, your post was a HUGE blessing to me, thank you so much! I cried through most of it, especially when I read what your niece said to you. And it was really neat to see Mike and Jo there. So glad they could come to love on you, since the rest of us can only do that from a distance.

    And I’m really sorry that you had to suffer (twice!) listening to the bagpipes. :-) I would’ve been in music heaven, assuming they were played well! :-)

  12. Kirsta February 12, 2014 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    Amy this was WONDERFUL! Thank you for including us.
    Since Tuesday morning if I have seen 1 forest green conversion van
    I have seen 100. I don’t know if they have ALWAYS been there or I
    I am just more aware, but each one I see I say to myself Pappa Young is
    watching over Kirsta Jean Your Queen.

  13. Kristi February 12, 2014 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your pain, your words, and pictures. I will continue to pray. Wish I could give you a big hug.

  14. Jenny February 13, 2014 at 6:14 am - Reply

    Thanks Amy. That’s really a gift. I wish I could have been there in person with the Young’s but it’s a blessing to glimpse it from afar. Both mourning and rejoicing with you.

  15. Heather Anderson Steyn February 13, 2014 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    Amy, this was definitely not crap! As always it is beautifully and poignantly written. Whichever niece it was has uttered what I have said to almost everyone I have shared with about Tom’s passing. I am so glad you are home now. As always, God’s timing is simply miraculous. Love to all of you!

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