Back in Indy

Talk about recalculating one’s route.

We’ve been in Indy all week preparing for a funeral, and today we buried my dad. Because this relates so closely to our RV adventure, and as a tribute to my father, I am posting a blurb I wrote and had read at his funeral:

I’ve heard of people, when they lose a loved one suddenly and unexpectedly, regret not spending more time together, and wish they had gotten to say goodbye. Not me. I got to spend more time. I got to say goodbye.

You see, just a couple months ago, my family and I were in the final stages of preparing for an epic adventure, taking life on the road in an RV for a year. Despite our best planning efforts, though, various scheduling challenges resulted in my family and me moving in with my parents for our final 2 weeks in Indianapolis.

We loved sharing the normal, day-to-day activities, like knowing my mom and dad’s appointments, eating meals together, morning greetings and goodnight kisses. Living in their space meant truly living life together, something we valued at the time but cherish even more so now.

There was work to do, however, if we were to leave by our target departure date. Fortunately, my dad was THE project guy. Working with him on the RV in the evenings and on the weekends brought back memories of building go-carts and model airplanes. We cheered when we linked our tow car’s taillights with the RV’s, we high-fived when the supplemental breaks finally worked, and we sipped beers after concluding that the daunting inverter installation just wasn’t “mission critical.”

It was hard work, but we did it. We did it together. And like the thousands of projects before, my dad took satisfaction in a job well done. We finished everything in time for our original departure date, but we decided to take an extra day and spend one last, un-rushed night with my mom and dad.

Then on the morning of June 14th, after everything was loaded and all systems were a ‘go,’ my dad huddled us together by the RV and said a prayer for our safe travels. I was surprised at how emotional of a moment this was, but it seemed fitting and I welcomed such a rare and tender moment with my dad. Then he gave me a big embrace, and we exchanged what would be our final face-to-face words: “I love you, son.” “I love you too, dad.”

I would have happily taken a few more calls and texts from my dad in the weeks that followed. But I take so much comfort in how I spent the last 2 weeks in town with him.

I got to spend more time.

I got to say goodbye.

Dad, you showed me what it means to be a man, a professional, a husband, and a father. You will be my example for as long as I live. I am who I am because of you, and I will miss you very, very much.

We’ll be here in Indy with my mom for as long as necessary…there’s a lot to take care of. The RV and the car are in storage in Tacoma Washington, so when we’re ready, we’ll be flying back out there to resume the trip.

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15 Responses to Back in Indy

  1. Robert Van Kleeck says:

    Sorry to he about your father. Reading that quote reminds me that I need to spend more time with my father (who lives about 800 miles north of Indy). I’m glad you were able to spend those last two weeks together.

  2. Laura says:

    What a beautiful tribute, Jon…Continuing to pray for your family.

  3. Dave Skirvin says:

    John and Amy, so sorry to hear about your loss. John, what a moving tribute to your dad. I’m so glad I got a chance to meet him before you guys left. I could tell from the little time I spent with him that he so enjoyed helping you get your RV ready for your cross country trip. We’ll keep you in our thoughts and prayers as you continue your cross country journey.

    • Jon Arnold says:

      Thanks Dave. I forgot you two met as we were doing final preparations on the RV. He was a great man.

  4. Jeanette Hammel says:

    Jon, thank you for sharing this…continuing to keep you, Amy, the girls, your mom, sister, and extended family in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. Trent Seed says:

    Great tribute Jon. Very sorry to hear of your loss, but happy that you got to spend the quality time with him. Sounds like he lived a great life. Our prayers continue to be with you and your family.

  6. Bruce says:

    Dear Jon, Amy and girls, so sorry to hear about your loss. Your “blurb” is quite touching. Thinking of you all.

  7. Spotts Family says:

    Peace to you, Amy and the girls, Jon. Beautiful tribute to your father. He was a rich man.

  8. Gil Liu says:

    I really loved hearing what both you and Shelly (sp?) wrote for the funeral. Mike was an amazing person, a dear friend, and a strong role model for any guy wanting to be a good father. The Liu family will regularly check in with Judy and we look forward to following your posts / tweets