Thank you for the love you’ve shown our family in the wake of my father’s passing

Dad

My father on Christmas Eve 2012, sporting an elvish hat and a plastic robot arm for grabbing things (which were my Christmas presents to him). My dad always loved gadgetry and toys. He was like the original model for the IT geek even though he worked with telephone systems.

My family and I are deeply moved by the kindness of our friends and relations near and far, of generous strangers, of caring people who have gathered around to show us love and concern in our time of bereavement. We were saddened by our father’s passing. When my father died, I felt like I couldn’t breathe anymore. Even knowing that he would pass, it was difficult: those of you who have been following his story on my blog or who know us personally know that around the beginning of my Fall school semester, my dad called and told me he had been told by his oncologist that he had about three months to live. He held out a little longer, so that he could spend the holidays and the New Year with family. 

We lost him two days ago, on January 3, 2013.

We knew five months ahead of time that his days might be short – and we chose to spend that time making memories with him while he was still here with us. I guess that is the natural course of things – to celebrate life, as we are living, and to hold off grief when we can to appreciate the company of the dying while they are still among the living. But we didn’t plan well enough for the practicalities that surround death, and so we were taken by surprise.

Grief, Interrupted

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My dad with his cat, Miranda – who seems to be winking. My dad named her after the planet in Firefly – he was a major science fiction fan.

By the next day, we would be hit with yet another painful revelation: my father had no burial insurance, and although as a Veteran, the VA would provide a plot, a headstone and the burial, but we would have to come together to pay for everything else. My father was a senior on a limited income with no estate to pay for his funeral and no insurance. We would have to come up with between $4,000 and $6,000 in a very short period of time – just a little more than a week – in order to bury him on Monday, January 14th, eleven days after his death. The funeral parlor told us if we waited any longer, his body would start to become unpresentable for an open casket funeral.

We Just Want To Thank You

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My niece Franchesca, who turned 22 in December, with her father (my brother) Scott and my father (her grandfather) Bob.

In response, when I came home last night, I started a campaign on Fundrazr.com

My niece, Franchesca – who my father asked to handle his affairs (he left an advance directive) is running this online fundraiser with me, and her dad and my mom are going around and asking people in person to donate (they are not “computer people”).

We are overwhelmed with gratitude by all of the support. In less than 24 hours, we’ve received nearly $700 in donations towards his funeral costs. Every time someone donates to the fund, me and Franchesca see it and are both filled with a sense of hope – that we can do this thing.

Grief, and Hope

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My dad kept my first book with him to the last – by his bedside. He told everyone about his daughter, “the author”. This was the bias of parental love, of course – every parent and child knows it. But I am glad my father was as proud to have me as a child as I was to have him as my daddy.

Grief is difficult and none of us experience it the same way. I know all too well how easily the suffering we all find ourselves experiencing individually in this loss of my dear and beloved father has at times been a source of friction and conflict – and I guess that is why it makes it all the more heartwarming and touching that people can come together in the face of tragedy and adversity to show how we can all be of one heart – one mind – one love, even in the most difficult times, it infuses me with a touch of bittersweet hope. Even though we are hurt, and we are suffering a loss, we can come together. We can show love.

Even with all of the love, it is so hard. I feel like I’ve been kicked in the chest sometimes. Sometimes I feel like it’s hard to breathe.

But people are AMAZING. People have come to us and created a circle of love and warmth around me and my family, and I can’t express much it really means to me, and my niece, and my brother, and my entire family to know how much you care. 

If You Want To Help

My father was a US Veteran. He served in the Navy from 1960 to 1964, where he learned the technical skills that would lead to his career as a proto technogeek. My dad was a radio guy who worked on the radar systems, and he was stationed in Iceland. Because he was a veteran, his plot, headstone, and burial are not an issue, but the family and friends still need to pay for the service, the preparation of his body, and the casket, plus little incidentals like flowers.

You Can Donate To The Robert Saulson Memorial Fund By Clicking On This Link

In addition to our fundraiser, author Serena Toxicat is offering books/CDs as part of a fundraiser for my dad, and Requiem Rose Designs is offering proceeds from jewelry sales. And I can offer signed copies of my book “Things That Go Bump In My Head” if, you know, you really want one. Although I’m not famous and I am only famously loved by my dad, who was likely my biggest fan. But if you want to do that, just hit the “Paypal” button on the side over there and send me an email at sumikoska@yahoo.com.

My mom, brother and niece are also trying to put together fundraising events.

Thanks.

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~ by Sumiko Saulson on January 5, 2013.

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