Friday, February 27, 2009

When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure

January and February have passed me by in a blur, I really truly had lost track of most of it. My fathers long illness and suffering finally came to an end on Feb. 8th. I was fortunate to be able to go be with him, for a week, just days before his death. I had flown home from that visit, to return just 4 days later for his funeral. I am grateful for my time with him and my family in Tennessee. Even with every last shred of hope that he could possibly pull through, I knew deep down this was coming and even though I did and with the time for goodbyes, it was still so hard to accept and work through. My biggest source of peace was that he was no longer suffering and that he was reunited with so many amazing loved ones that had passed on previously, waiting with open arms to greet him and guide him. Before he passed I was able to thank him for the man he was. I thanked him for always being so accepting of others, he never judged anyone, it didn't matter where you came from or what you looked like, he always gave you a chance. This showed in the 300+ people that came to pay their respect at his service. I thanked him for his awesome sense of humor, which I think, all of us girls inherited. A sense of humor that found lightness in some of the darkest things, and I thanked him for his unconditional love.

I am finally, just in the last few days, feeling myself again. I am coming out of my fog. I think I have been running on auto pilot for too long and hiding in my shell for too long also. I had been avoiding people to a certain degree, I felt to fragile to speak to many, in person, as soon as I heard a loved ones voice I would cry and sometimes felt I wouldn't be able to stop. A few weekends ago, I spent one whole day in bed, crying and sleeping. I think it was what I needed though, to get most of it out of my system. Although I cried and mourned at my Dad's, it still felt all too surreal. When I came back home, the first few weeks, I kept thinking did this really all happen. So, I am moving on with the motions of grief, I pray my family can too. I need to thank and acknowledge my amazing husband for allowing me the time and space to work through all of this, no matter how hard it was/is on him too.

This sunset picture was from the day after my Dad's burial, at his grave site. I felt like it was a smile coming down from him, saying that he was ok, and that we would be also.

I found these poems on the Internet, I don't remember where, but I liked what they said

At the rising sun and at its going down we remember them.

At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter we remember them.

At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring we remember them.

At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer we remember them.

At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of the autumn we remember them.

At the beginning of the year and when it ends we remember them.

As long as we live, they too will live, for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.

When we are weary and in need of strength we remember them.

When we are lost and sick at heart we remember them.

When we have decisions that are difficult to make we remember them.

When we have joy we crave to share we remember them.

When we have achievements that are based on theirs we remember them.

For as long as we live, they too will live, For they are now a part of us, as we remember them.


I thought of you with love today but that is nothing new.

I thought about you yesterday and days before that too.

I think of you in silence, I often speak your name.

All I have are memories and your picture in a frame.

Your memory is my keepsake, with which I’ll never part.

God has you in His keeping, I have you in my heart.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Obituary:

Russell Gregory "Russ" Gebhardt
GEBHARDT, RUSSELL GREGORY (RUSS) - age 59 of Farragut, passed away early Sunday Morning, February 8, 2009 at his home. Born April 11, 1949, Russ was originally from Petaluma, CA, but lived in Los Angeles the majority of his life. He moved to Knoxville, TN in July of 1993 with his wife Aloysia and 2 of his 4 daughters. Russ was a member of St. John Neumann Catholic Church. In his younger years, he was a professional rock singer and recorded several songs in the 60's. Working in the drapery, and later in the construction business; he was seriously injured on the job in 1987. Russ was always smiling and contributed to the family by taking care of the children and helping with the household. He was a wonderful cook, enjoyed singing on the karaoke, boating, hiking, and loved to entertain friends and family in their home. Russ is the son of his late parents, Henry Albert Gebhardt, Jacqueline Fayne Faranda and step-son of Salvatore Faranda. His brother, Jon Faranda and nephew, Samuel Faranda also preceded Russ in death. He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Aloysia (Ali) Sinovec Gebhardt; daughters, Leia Corinne Gebhardt, Gina Lauren Gebhardt, Mara Lee Gebhardt of Albequerque, NM, Alicia Gebhardt Doan of Salinas, CA; grandchildren, Alanna, Amadeo, Andreas, Logan; step-mother, Evelyn Murphy of San Bruno, CA; brother, Mark Allen Gebhardt of San Mateo, CA; sister, Tina Capwell of Cupertino, CA; several nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Click Funeral Home Farragut Chapel with a Christian Wake Service and Rosary to follow at 7 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. John Neumann Catholic Church with Father John Dowling celebrant. Graveside services and interment will follow in the Lakeview Cemetery. The family requests that memorials be in the form of donations to St. John Neumann Catholic Church (New Building Fund), 645 St. John Court, Farragut, TN 37934. Click Funeral Home Farragut Chapel, 11915 Kingston Pike is serving the Gebhardt family.


An amazing, beautiful thing happened after my father's service. My sister, Gina, and one of my father's oldest and dearest friends, Mike, came up with an idea to paint a portrait of my father. Gina is a talented artist and Mike is very much so, making a successful career with his art. Mike started the painting, which became an amazing, emotional, and inspiring tribute to my father. The love shown in each stroke and I think helped us all in easing the pain of our loss. It reminded us of his life and how much he loved us and life, and I knew he was watching and cheering us on. It started with Gina wanting more color and Mike telling her to get in there and do what she wanted, and then it grew to each of us applying our own strokes, with Mike's encouragement. We were all so afraid to ruin it. All four of us girls, my stepmother and my niece and two nephews painted, and it turned out beautifully. The following is a slid show of it.

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Seth, Sarah and the kids said...

Alicia, what a beautiful tribute to your Dad. I am so sorry for your loss. I love that you all had a hand in that painting. That turned out beautifully! What a treasure to have. Thank you so much for sharing that...I love you.

Al said...

Aunt Alicia, glad you're coming out of your fog. And thank you for sharing your memories with us. It's always good to be reminded of what we all need to be paying attention to in life.

Jen said...

Alicia, I'm so sorry for your loss. I don't know how it is that I missed this post earlier this year. A very touching tribute. Please know that I have been thinking of you. Grief has no timeline, but waxes and wanes, and I hope more of your days are growing easier. I love you.