I was just telling the girls about what a hard worker you were! I told the story about you wanting to firm up the back yard in our first home in the late 50’s by hauling broken up concrete from a parking lot being torn up near our house…all of it in the trunk of your ‘49 Ford. Back and forth…then built up the wall so the back yard would quit flowing down the hill when it rained.
You worked a job you didn’t love for 33 years because you needed to take care of your family.
You were so very artistic and talented and I’m so honored to have your creations to remember you by.
You loved me and were always my silent protector. You loved your granddaughters with the same fervor.
Many times I know you forced yourself out of your introverted personality to be present in social situations.
And my biggest regret is that I feel I did not give you the love and honor you deserved because I could not bring myself to visit you next door because of your wife, my mother. My biggest regret in life is that I didn’t make more of an effort to find a way to just “be” with you and ignore her. But our last moments together in the hospital room when you were still alive and I massaged lotion on your forehead and the top of your head and you closed your eyes. I knew you felt it. My love!
Your energy is with me every day, Daddy! Our energy. Our love!
Yesterday I did this! I went for a walk around the pond and just kept following my feet down the path for about 1/2 a mile. It was warm when the sun would peek through, a fall breeze blowing fall leaves…I embraced the smells, the beauty, and wind blowing through my hair. The best part was I stopped several times…there was no destination, there was no goal. It just felt like a walk with my dad as I chatted with him and asked a lot of questions.
So many gifts he handed down to me. For a short time I found myself teary….why didn’t I get out of the house all summer and fall, why didn’t I ask my dad more questions, why didn’t I this and that!
Until I realized I just didn’t. The past is the past and I did exactly what felt right to me in the past. This is now and I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing right now. Each time I embrace the right now and let go of the shoulda, I find peace. This is also one of the shouldas that followed…why don’t I do “this” all the time? Because its just not what is right for me in that “all the time narrative” that I like to have preprinted for my life. Right now is right now.
I came back and jotted this haiku that had formed somewhere in my soul!
My dad was born 99 years ago today. He was a simple man who loved his family above all else. I love to hear my girls reminisce about Grandpa doing this and Grandpa doing that and I love him the most because he loved them the best. I missed you during the World Series this year, I miss seeing you in your recliner with your steepled fingers and I will miss celebrating your birthday with you this year. I will drink several cups of black coffee today and think about you. You were my hero.
When he died back in 2001, I felt that grief that takes your breath away…that pain which reaches so deep into all of your muscles and nerves that you are pretty sure you will never feel alive again. His death was the most important thing that has ever happened to me. It changed me from the person I thought I was to the person I am. I called upon all of the stubborness and determination and a little of the eccentric personality traits learned from him to change myself from being a victim of my life to being in charge and having chutzpah (which I like to refer to as balls) to stop the insanity.
After the initial grieving, I was relieved that his life was over – I knew my dad and I knew that my dad was ready to go. I now know that he suffered severe bouts of depression. He verbalized many times to Phil and to me that he wanted out – I know and knew that he really wanted away from my mother…but I will not crucify her in this blog…this is about my dad. His mind was finally quiet…it was over…and this is exactly what he wanted. My love for him was able to allow me to be happy that he was finally dead!
We all have those outline bullet points or the A.1.a. in the outline of our life or the events which we always refer to as before this happened or since this happened. My dad’s death is the capital A in my life.
For those of you who have been around for awhile and know that I think my mother is a narcissistic old lonely woman who won’t give an inch…you will understand when i say…I don’t have to visit my father at the cemetary as she demands nor do I need to spend his birthday and their wedding anniversary with her…my dad pops up in the most unexpected places. I know that my dad is smiling down at me today – perhaps chuckling because I planned ahead and prepared for the worst…this was his motto…always be ready for the unexpected.
The weather radio went off this morning at 0700 advising not only a winter storm warning but a blizzard warning. ice this morning and 7 inches of snow by afternoon with winds 25-35 mph with gusts of 50. Travel is not recommended and thank goodness everyone seems to have heeded the warning except the 50 year old “you-know-what” who t-boned a pickup this morning and then led police thru the streets of Newton on a chase..ended up driving down the railroad tracks for about 7 city blocks and ended up broadside…and…of course he wasn’t injured…just intoxicated…this occurred at 10:00 this morning…..10’o-clock this morning. Endangering everyone in the middle of an Iowa blizzard…all I can say is WTF….and you know what that stands for….with morons like this, I have total job security….
Back to dad….so I got up this morning and collected my “army” cot, blankets, my sleep machine, toiletries, towels and a change of clothes along with my laptop and 2 CDs of the show “6 feet under” and loaded them in the car. I get off at 1700 today and have to be back at 0300 so decided not to even try to go home – I live the closest of anyone to work but I live on gravel…to you in other states who don’t even know what gravel roads are…they are impassable during a blizzard…not plowed…can’t tell where the road ends and the ditches start…usually drifted several feet by the high winds….so …I’m sleeping in the women’s locker room tonight…actually…this might be fun. Hey…this is winter in Iowa…we are not selective about fun!!!
The saint I’m married to will take care of the 3 dogs and the cat and the Helen and Frances next door. I’m getting the sweet end of the deal….