Monday, May 28, 2012

Out With A Bang

Yesterday, was the funeral.  I think Bill would have enjoyed it. Even though the visitation was  3 days after his death, I had months to plan  in my head.  It was very important to Bill for me to have the wedding of my dreams.  I was happy with a small one but he said I deserved better.  He paid for the entire wedding including my gown.  With that said, I thought Bill deserved a grand exit.  Every detail was very important to me because those things were the very last things I could do for him.  He worked hard his entire life to provide for us and did without.  So, I didn't want anything to be left out while planning his farewell. It felt like I was on the go from the morning of his death until the funeral trying to get everything right. 

Bill and I always joked around about buying his casket at Costco.  We both loved shopping there and spent a lot of time there.  It was an on going joke about running to Costco for our funerals.  So, in honor of our many shopping trips together at Costco, I did order his casket from there.  To be honest, I don't think I could have looked at caskets in person.  The casket was blue which was his favorite color. There was a spray of fresh red roses on top of the casket.  I did it to coordinate with the Chicago Cubs' colors. 

Bill had lost over 70 pounds.  His clothes were all to big for him.  Zachary and I went together to buy him a new suit.  We matched the suit to a blue shirt and a Cubs tie.  Both boys wore the same color shirt and had the same tie to match Bill's. Kaity and I wore Cub's bracelets.   Bill always liked to joke around and be a little different.  He never liked being serious.  Being dressed up was more of a chore then a pleasure for him.  Even though no one would see, I thought a little humor was needed.  Bill had on a pair of Cookie Monster boxes on underneath his suit.  The kids had a pillow that was decorated with red and blue flower and had a "dad" ribbon on it which was placed in the casket.

The prayer cards that were chosen looked like holy cards.  We chose them because Bill liked to buy holy cards and had a stack of them.  Michael picked out the passage to be printed on them.  He picked out a one that talked about a father because Bill was the only "father" he never knew. 

I had poster boards of pictures on display.  I wanted everyone to see the life Bill lived. Family members gathered up old photos and a family friend put them on a DVD.  He did a terrific job. The DVD played on 2 TVs during the entire time. I had our wedding photo album there.  I wanted everyone to see the best day of my life besides when my children were born.  I had a photo album that I gave to Bill on our 10th wedding anniversary.  It was intimate but I wanted to let everyone know what kind of marriage we had.  I remember when I gave the book to Bill.  He told me he wanted to be buried with it.  I hope he forgives me for not honoring his wishes. I saved it for the kids to look at when they are older.  I also had a photo album from our trip to Disney.  It was our first family vacation and our last with the 5 of us.  It's the vacation that no one in my family will forget.  It was important to display pictures of us having a great time just 5 months prior to his death.  What not many people know that Bill was in tremendous pain during the trip.  He didn't complain and he pushed himself the entire time so the kids would have great memories.  The last thing I had on display was Bill's good bye letter.  He wrote it almost 3 years ago.  He was about to undergo surgery and was afraid he would not survive.  The day before he posted his blog a post to his family and friends. .  I think his feelings were the same them as they were now.

The one thing I couldn't plan was all the beautiful floral arrangements that filled the viewing room. Or all the people that came to pay their last respects and to show their support.  There was a lot of laughter which I know Bill would have loved. 

The day we put Bill to rest, I placed a family picture in his hand.  As a symbol he will always have a hold on me and the kids.  I also placed a dollar in his pocket because I didn't want him to be buried broke.  His 3 sisters, a brother, a nephew, and Michael were the pallbearers.  Michael told me that the only thing he could focus on was his memories.  The memories he had of Bill carrying him when he was little. All the piggy back rides Bill gave him.  The memories of Bill picking him up when he would fall.  And the irony of Michael carrying Bill to rest now. 

Like I said, I tried to plan every detail to make it as much of Bill as I could.  That even included me.  When Bill and I started dating my hair was short and blond.  So I had my hair cut (not has short as Bill would have wanted but much shorter then I liked) and I also had blond highlights put in.  I wore a dressed that Bill liked as well. 

The church service was beautiful.  I wanted the focus to be happiness and not sorrow.  I tried to pick out songs and reading that were cheerful and not sad.  I thought the choir did a beautiful job and the sermon fit perfectly.

I chose to bury Bill at the cemetery where my great grandparents, grandparents, my dad as well as many relatives have been buried at.  Since we are not old, I chose the new section at the cemetery,  Our plots are out in the open.  It will be a family plot that will allow us more options down the road.  The grave side service was touching.  We were handed a flowers off a red, blue, and white arrangement (Cubs colors) which was fitting.  There was even a touch of Bill's humor to the service.  Somebody accidentally pushed on the casket and it started to roll on the holder.  I stood there waiting for the casket to roll off until someone saved the day and stopped it.  I chose to have the casket lowered at the service.  It was hard for me to watch but I wanted our children to see.  I wanted them to realize that Bill is being buried.  With them being so young, it's a hard concept for them to grasp.

I had a luncheon after the funeral.  Bill and I always celebrated life with food.  I chose a place that meant a lot to me.  It was a place that Bill took me a few times while we were dating.  The same place we went on the night he purposed to me.  It was also the place we went for lunch sometime before he had chemo infusions. To keep with the Bill Ceiga's family tradition, ice cream was served at the end.  Because, ice cream has away of making things better, even a funeral.  :)


  1. Wow. So much thought...Praying for you for the months and years ahead.

  2. Sally,
    What a beautiful tribute to your husband and memorable farewell for your children. Bill would be proud of all of you.

  3. sally, your love for bill (and his for you) is what has gotten you through and will forever remain with you as you move forward. it's a "love story" that is rare these days and i know in my heart that you wouldn't trade any of it even if you knew how it would end.
    the details and the sincere meaning behind every thing you did for him in his last days brings me to tears. your love for your husband and children is the greatest gift we can give and you give it with your whole heart and soul!
    when we love that deeply in life we are left with a part of those we lose that never leaves our heart or our memories and you dear sally will forever carry bill in your heart and he will always be "with" you.
    please let those who love you help you through and know you are never alone..blessings to all of you..deb

  4. Very powerful and detailed. Love for each other has become rarer in marrages these days. Hope it will continue through your children. Sorry for moving the casket- Oops. You and Bill will always be honored and respected. never forgotten, you are still family!!
    Dave C

  5. What a very beautiful tribute for Bill...May God keep you strong through these times of sorrow....HUGS!!!

  6. Very, very touching tribute to a wonderful husband and father.