Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Letter to My Dad - Recap of the Celebration of Life

Dear Dad,

I just realized it's been almost a month since you passed away.  As you can imagine, we think about you every day and miss you all the time.  Mom is doing well. She is keeping busy and has an amazing support system from your wonderful children, siblings (both yours and hers), other family, and friends (both yours and hers).  I'm doing well in Chicago too. I came back to work a week after your Celebration of Life.  My office welcomed me back with open arms and a blanket similar to the one I got you for Christmas. They are so thoughtful. Marcus and Stacey are also doing well. Marcus never told you, but he finally finished that big case he was always talking to you about...and you would be so proud. And Stacey, .... I think you may owe her a big thanks and a million chocolate chip cookies.

After you died, we followed your plan to a "T".  The Celebration of Life Party occurred on Saturday, January  21st, and it was FANTASTIC.  You might have even started a trend! I remember when I attended your retirement party in 2007 and I was just so proud of you.  I never knew what you did at CDC. To me, you were just dad. The one who traveled for some kind of work with CDC. The one who went to Moe's on Fridays.  The one who came to many of my after-school activities and asked why I was always doing my homework.  I never knew you were some famous CDC employee. I remember writing a note to all of my friends after your retirement party and telling them how happy I was to be your daughter. And I was just overwhelmed with all of the nice things that people had to say about you.

Well...your Celebration of Life party beat the retirement party in ways you can't even imagine.  First off, Stacey might have pulled off the party of the Century in about 5 days notice.  The party was held at the Mary Gay house (just like you suggested) and we had an open-house style gathering from 2-6pm.  The open bar was on the patio and was stocked with beer and wine that Marcus and mom picked out.  The appetizers were really good. Moe's even catered some of the food (wings and potato skins). And, I promise you, there were no cucumber sandwiches (just like you requested).

If I had to guess, I would say there were about 400-500 people that showed up between the 4 hour window. You had friends, colleagues, and family members that flew and drove in at a moments notice, some from many many miles away. Others even postponed trips to make sure they could attend.  There were even other Celebration of Life parties held around the world for those who couldn't attend the party in Atlanta. I was quite shocked. There were people there that I had never met, some who I hadn't seen in years, and some who remember me from when I was only "this high".  Everyone had such nice things to say about you and about our family and even about the blog!  There were a couple of speeches; a couple of tears; a lot of laughs, and a lot of hugs.

Other things you would be shocked to know - they named an award after you at the CDC Foundation. The Polio Eradication Heroes Fund is now the Bob Keegan Polio Eradication Heroes Fund:

And, the AJC even posted an obituary about you in the Sunday paper (written by Marcus Keegan):

People really do love you. And it was so uplifting and inspirational to see all of the love at your Celebration of Life and during the days and weeks following your passing.  You have no idea the dent you left in people's hearts, souls, and minds. Especially mine. I will always love you and I'm so glad I get to be loved by you my entire life.

One more important thing, Tim Tebow did not make it to the Superbowl. The Giants and Patrios played last weekend and the Giants won the whole thing.

Love always,
Lauren Keegan, a daddy's girl for life