Saturday, May 28, 2011

A shot of whiskey, a shot of courage

What an emotional last couple of weeks! We laid my dad to rest yesterday close to where he spent his whole life near the Brandywine River. Hearing taps at a cemetery is probably one of the saddest sounds in the whole world. It was touching all the family and friends that came out to pay their respects. I just never realized what a positive influence he had on other people's lives. And that is the upside of a funeral, that you get to hear all those things and you get to see lots of people that you don't get to see too often.

After the funeral, lots of food and booze and great company helped eased the sadness. Cases of Yuenling and bottles of Scotch whiskey brought out the stories of "Big Al" before the cousins made him "Uncle Al" and then the grandchildren made him "PopPop Al". It warmed my heart to see my mom take a shot of whiskey in his memory. She has been a rock, so focused in her faith, that his faith will carry him on to golden shores. He will suffer no more where he is going. His death has made me think a lot about what happens after this crazy life.

Getting ready for a seven day stage race( is a bit daunting on its own and burying your dad two days before is far from ideal. But I'm not going to use that as an excuse, but rather a source of focus, inspiration and energy. I thought about not doing the race, but I know that he would of wanted me to race because he was my biggest fan and supporter. Plus, his timing of when he died, made it possible for me to attend his funeral and do the race.

Now, things are easy, I just ride. When it comes down to it, its the easiest thing in the world. And at times I make it way harder than it needs to be. Tim reminded me of that in my pre race pep talk. KISS...Keep it simple stupid and have tons of fun.

And by the way, at my funeral, I want this song by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole Somewhere over the Rainbow.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Respect to Poppy

Albert Joseph Haywood 1932-2011

My dad was laid back, smart and loving. He was a family man that raised three daughters and one son. He had eight grandchildren that he loved very much. He adored my mom to whom he was married for 54 years. He played golf and enjoyed computers. He went to church his whole life. He still had some friends that he met in kindergarden. My dad bought me my first mountain bike and was always my biggest supporter.

He was sick a lot at the end of his life and suffered the last few years. He always maintained his sense of humor and kind heart.

And even though I'm so glad he doesn't have to suffer anymore, It is still really sad that he's gone. My heart is heavy. I'll miss you, poppy!