One week ago today, we said goodbye forever to the earthly body of my wonderful father… It helps to know his spiritual body is now with our Heavenly Father, since he lived a faithful Christian life.
The six hour visitation was so very well attended (about 350)! It was amazing how many friends and acquaintances came to pay their respects and share their fond memories of Dad. Lots of folks he used to work with at the railroad, kids that we grew up with in the neighborhood, and friends of his from every walk of life, even his car club buddies! There were tons of brethren from our family's congregations and the sister congregations around town that came to show their love and support for our family. That was truly a blessing!
There was a beautiful display of flowers, plants, gifts and the visitation room stayed packed! I found out later that my sweet mother, when making the arrangements, told them she would need their largest room! And we sure did! It meant so much to me that my Dad was so loved, respected and admired by everyone he came in contact with! He was an adopted father to many young men as we grew up in Villa Ana and they were all there shedding tears with us! As we grew up Dad was always there for them. He was there to work on their bikes, then their scooters, then their cars, and on their homes as they became adults! He helped many of them build decks and room additions! I know many of them have a few hand-me-down tools with “Don Dillon” engraved on them, as do I… He taught those young men more than how to work hard, he taught them how to be good men…
The day of the funeral was a beautiful day and we all were amazed at the turnout (about 150)! They kept bringing more and more chairs in and there were even some folks standing in the back… During the service, my husband read a letter my Mom wrote entitled “Our Life Together”, a couple notes written by my nieces Jessica & Alyssa to their Pop Pop, and then shared a few memories of his own. It was a beautiful tribute!
Later, as we approached the grave site, we could hear the bagpipes! Oh how my Dad loved the bagpipes. He had some Irish in his family history you know! (That's why he would always call and say “Top of the morning to ya, Teressa me Darlin”… Dad was a Vietnam veteran, so to start the service, there were two military folks. One played Taps on the bugle, then they folded the flag that had been draped over Dad's casket, and gave it to Mom. Once the flag was removed, we could see the casket, which was made of wood and was absolutely gorgeous! Dad would have loved it, since he was also a brilliant wood worker and made us each a hope chest. He always said when he died, just put him in a pine box, but this was much much nicer! Then for the grand finale, the part that Dad had ordered up years and years ago! Amazing Grace was then played on the bagpipes! It just sent chills through me… It was like Dad's signature or stamp of approval for a job well done! What a nice way to close such a special tribute to him!