Here's the thing: I learned, after many years, to tolerate and even accept my step-father. I never knew him as a father, or thought of him that way. He did great things for the family and for my mom, and for that I'm grateful. While my brothers, Jake's step-sons, loved him like sons, I never loved him like a daughter. I went home for the funeral for my mom. If not for mom, I would not have gone. There's a long story behind this, but I won't go into it here.
The funeral, which took place on Saturday, Sep. 5, was okay, as funerals go. Jake had an open casket and did not look like Jake, until you got farther away and looked at his profile. The mortician was not given any photos to work with, so he/she had no real idea what Jake looked like. So here's a tip: always provide the mortician with photos of the deceased. Take some photos of yourself, close up, from several angles, and put them where your next of kin can find them when the time comes. That is, if you plan to have an open casket.
Jake was not buried until Tuesday, Sep. 8, because he had a military burial and the veterans cemetery was closed over the long weekend. It was a nice ceremony. The VFW provided an honor guard and a chaplain, the Army provided pall bearers and a bugler who played taps live. (This is rare these days.) The ceremony was held away from the actual gravesite, and we did not get to stay to visit the grave after the burial. (It would have been a few hours of waiting, and we had a two-hour drive since the cemetery was not close to mom's home. Also, I had to catch a flight that evening to get back to Texas.)
So Jake was respectfully remembered and buried. The funeral was attended by all his children and step-children, who all had to travel to get to California. It was great that they could be there. Fortunately, everyone had seen Jake not too exceptionally long before he passed away and had those memories.
Something happened for me while I was in California. I began a close relationship with a man I've actually known for many years, as he is a family friend/acquaintance, but who I didn't "notice" until last year, when I went home for my youngest brother's (Charlie's) funeral. I'm not going to go into that here, either. Suffice to say that there is now a man in my life where there has not been a man for twelve years. It may be nothing. It may be something. We'll see. He is, after all, still in California!