I was pretty anxious for the week leading up to it. I had such mixed feelings about going to San Francisco. I was excited to see old family friends, my family and friends. But I was obviously also very sad at the idea of saying goodbye to Dad. I cried every time I thought about how the evening would go. I was sure I wouldn't be able to stand up and talk about him or give any kind of toast.
But you know what? It was a really fun party. About 65 of us gathered to give condolences, share stories, have laughs. Former co-workers and partners in his various law firms told stories of Dad's intimidating nature or his immensely successful career. His incredibly opinionated personality was just made to practice the law. Friends of 30, 40 and even 50+ years spoke about his incredible generosity and loyalty. And all four of us daughters - yes, even me - were able to give the rest of the room a glimpse, through tear-strewn speeches, of what Bill Kelly was like as a Dad. The recurring theme for the evening was that he was always the champion of the underdog. That what you saw was what you got with him, no BS. He was wickedly smart and incredibly witty. He was who you wanted on your side.
It was a perfect send off that would have made him proud.
(Photo credit: Holden Skaggs, age 6)
My BFF and her beautiful children
After the party I wasn't quite ready to go home so we went around the corner to the Mission Bowling Club, a cool new bowling alley/bar in the Mission, with my cousin Jana, her girlfriend Susan, and Thomas, who is both our friend and the owner of the Stable Cafe (the venue of both my dad's surprise 80th birthday and his Celebration of Life party). Jana and my dad had grown quite close over the last several years and she had become like his fifth daughter. It was nice to spend some extra time with her.
Luckily, the weekend also included lots of highlights. Kevin got to spend some quality time with his dad walking the dogs on the beach in Half Moon Bay and picking up fresh crabs for lunch. I got to have some good (and overdue) girl talk over brunch in Berkeley with two of my besties, Cristy and Sara. And, we got to meet this guy:
Jack was born three weeks ago to one of my very favorite couples, Naomi and Nate, also known as the Nay Nays. It was so nice to hold a newborn in my arms, feel his insanely soft skin and smell his new baby smell, all as I was saying goodbye to my 80 year-old dad.
Tomorrow my mom will be laying on an operating table having her shoulder repaired. I am understandably more nervous than usual.
After all, she's the only parent I have left.