Jennifer Funk Fine Art


I read this in some little quote book (my favorite kind of book)
Our best work is done with the heart breaking, or overflowing.
Now, I’m not sure that I’m really doing any official “work”; but since Brad’s death it seems like I go back and forth between those two extremes. Sometimes many times a day. Sometimes many times an hour.
This weekend was a “heart overflowing” weekend.
I have always loved Brad’s family. I really didn’t know most of them all that well before the accident. I knew one family a little better because Brad and I hung out a lot with them while we were dating.   We got married and two days later jumped in the U-haul and moved to Florida. We never lived close to family in our married time together. We always visited a few times a year; so I saw them over holidays and in the summer a bit. I always thought they were so fun and kind and Brad loved them more than anything and I loved them too; but I was still just getting to know them.  I don’t think I had had a conversation with many of them without Brad being with me.  So, after Brad’s death I could almost feel their fear. That they would lose their brother – and maybe not see his children anymore either. Saying that now seems a little strange; because they are such a big part of our life; but I remember sensing that they were worried about that at the time.
Well, skip forward three years.  I remember talking to Brad and planning holidays – your family on Christmas eve, my family Christmas day, etc. Now it is “OUR” family. Everyone is our family. I really feel like that. I am overwhelmed by the love and support they show us.  I am so grateful for them. I feel like through them my littlest girls get to know a bit of their father. There was a time that those similarities were kindof hard.  Brad’s oldest brother, Lance resembles Brad a lot. Addie would just light up when she would see Lance. It was sweet and heartbreaking at the same time. Sophie; who usually takes a while to warm up to people; took right to Lance as well. She would insist on being with him.  She was old enough, and had enough memories of Brad to know that this wasn’t her father; but there were enough similarities that she was very comfortable being with him.  I had never really noticed the resemblance until after Brad’s death. It’s really more to do with mannerisms and the way he says things than physical resemblance I think.  There would be some times when it was hard for me to be around him because he would say something and sound just like Brad. I used to have to leave for a minute and get composed. I remember him playing with Addie when she was just starting to walk and he was trying to get her to walk to him. He was so excited and happy about it. If I closed my eyes it could have been Brad I was hearing. The exact same mannerisms and words Brad used doing that with Sophie. It would freak me out for a minute and I would have to take a little walk and get myself together.   It’s a good thing though. I love that each of my girls have Uncles they can see their father in.  They get to see uncle Clark once a week and I love it (they hang out up there all day and I get a “me” day.  I’m certain that my brother and sister in law are the reason I have not gone totally insane yet.)
This weekend we all got together. We went to see the play Les Miserables. That play is a special one for the Funk family. Their mother, Loni, loved it. I’m not sure if they ever got to see it all together. I know they had tickets when she was sick with cancer. She didn’t make it long enough to see the play; but I think all the kids still went together.  Brad loved the music from it.  (I would always joke with him that he was a total enigma. Type A fighter pilot one minute; singing Les Mis songs the next )  We would listen to the soundtrack while driving around and Brad and Tyler would sing every song at the top of their lungs. I had never seen the play, so on one long drive to Utah I got the 4 hour explanation from Brad interspersed with he and Ty performing every song. (It’s a very fun memory)  I was so excited to go and see it. and I was so excited that so many of Brad’s family were coming as well.  Being Memorial weekend i thought it was very fitting.  The play was wonderful and it was so great to be able to see it with them.
When we got back from the play I walked in to this sparkling clean house. Brad’s sister Cheryl had stayed home from the play to help with the kids. (even after much attempted persuasion from me) She had cleaned and her husband Ralph had even done all the windows. Inside and out. Even the crazy high ones that I am certain have not been cleaned in 10 years. It was one of those overflowing moments and it make me cry. She said that it was my “Saturday before Mother’s Day”.   OUR family is amazing.
Afterward, we wrote on balloons and gathered our flowers and went to the cemetery together. It was cold and rainy and the balloons we let go ended up a few yards away in a tree. Brad’s little brother Clark said that he thought that meant that Brad was really just closer than we thought. I think he’s right.
We came back and ate and hung out. It was great to see everyone and I am so grateful they made the effort to come.
That night they divided up some of Brad’s clothing.  It’s been a process for me to get to the point where I could share it. It’s been a process for me to know that his “stuff” is not HIM.  When I moved in here I just put everything of his back in the same drawers and in the same place in the closet. (my closet is about half the size, so it’s been interesting over the years….ActualIy, I guess It’s really just been the same as always. – his side perfectly organized and my side a giant mess:)
I gave all of his older clothing to his siblings pretty quickly; but If I had a memory of Brad in something; I kept it. It took me about two years to be able to take some of it out of my closet and put it in boxes downstairs.  About a month or two ago it flooded under my stairs; where most of Brad’s stuff was kept. I freaked out a bit. But it was out, so I started going through it. I think I just needed some time with it still around me because this time going through it I was so excited to share it with his brothers and sisters. He has some really nice things that they should be using. It shouldn’t be sitting under my stairs.  Of course, I saved my favorite things; uniforms and my favorite shirts. I saved enough for the girls to have some and I’m going to make a jean quilt out of his old jeans. The rest of it I was really excited to give away.
One thing that makes me happy about it is they love it because it was Brad’s. They are honored to wear it because it was his. Lance said they wear shoes that are too tight and shirts that are too big – because they were Brads. I know it will be meaningful for them to have his things; so it was really fun to give them to them.  It was also good to go through everything and talk about our memories of Brad wearing it.  Those are the best days for me; when they are filled with memories of Brad. So this weekend could not have been more perfect.
Lance and Sharley had come up early and they ran around and fixed up things that needed fixing in my home and hung things up for me. That was fun because I got to have a little glimpse of “Hurricane Brad” while they were here. Hurricane Brad doesn’t wait to be told what to do , he just sees something that needs to be done and does it – very, very quickly 🙂 It was nice to have that for a few days. They got done in two days what would have taken me a month to finish.
I am so blessed to be part of this amazing family. Where lots of us aren’t even blood relatives and it doesn’t matter one bit. Everyone is the same. They come in and overwhelm you with love and support. I know why my sweet husband would light up every time he talked abut his amazing family.  I mean, OUR amazing family.