On this day eleven years ago, my father left this world, after cancer claimed him. He died at home and I remember feeling something I had never expected to feel: relief. I was so glad to see his suffering end, to see his ravaged self freed of the indignity of that disease.
The relief remained in some ways but was replaced with so many emotions, and the reality of how final death is when it happens. I’m able to bear the loss with more ease, with an adjusted acceptance of this state of being. But I still sometimes hear his voice in the expressions that are so much a part of who I am, still sometimes know what he would have thought in situations that arise. What surprises me the most is how often I think, I wish Dad could see/know this…
So here he is on my wedding day, 25 years ago, and sorry for the quality but it’s a photo of an old photo:
When I see him that day I remember walking down the aisle on his arm and the speech he made welcoming my husband to our family, and how sweet he looked with my mom all dressed in her fab mother-of-the-bride outfit.
Today, after eleven years without him, I am filled with things I want him to know. Things like this:
- Remember the little grandson who lost you when he was five, who cried his little heart out when your coffin was placed in the hearse? He is sixteen now Dad. Sixteen. He is graduating from high school in two weeks. He is almost as tall as you were, taller than his own dad, and I look up into his still mischievous eyes. He is handsome and funny and kind. I think you would love him.
- You know how your granddaughter loved words and stories and reading and learning? How her eight year old self would be filled with imagination and how spitfire tempered she was? Well she is a woman Dad. Full grown, nineteen. She is beautiful and smart and proud and strong. She is halfway through university and still uses her words well. She has matured and developed grace and character. I would love to hear the two of you talk about history and politics. It would be a conversation that touched the heart and mind. You would be so proud of her, I know.
- We are celebrating our 25th anniversary this summer. A quarter of a century Dad! I know it was hard for you when we decided to get married – young, students, limited financial resources, short courtship. But you knew G loved me and you were right. He did/does. We are going to reaffirm our vows in front of both of our families. I will miss you that day and I hope you’re watching.
- I’m sick Dad. I have something weird going on in my brain and it’s a real bugger. I had a lumbar puncture that went wrong last week and I told Gary you were up there saying, “second generation incubator baby…” and that made me laugh through my tears.
- Mom lives with us and I try to take good care of her. She has to work hard to cope with her COPD and it isn’t always a cakewalk for sure. She misses you. You would be so proud of her – honestly. What a woman. And she bakes for the kids and G. Lucky huh?
- People down here still don’t know the difference between the use of the words bring/take, come/go, me/I and it drives me nuts. Thanks for that
- Sometimes when I’m writing I see my letter formation and think of how you would hate it. I mix writing and printing sometimes and know you would despise that. People always tell me how nice my penmanship is and that makes me think of yours. Almost like calligraphy. I found something you wrote the other day and it made me feel close to you. I love your handwriting.
- I’m forty-five dad. Halfway to ninety. So much wiser than when we last talked. I’m a good mother, a good wife, a good woman. I think you would be proud. I hope so.
- I’m writing. See, in a blog! You wouldn’t even have any clue about this. You might say it’s a lot of talk about nothin’. But you know how I always loved words, and writing them down. So if you have wireless internet access where you are, put this in your reader feed. K?