It has been so long since you and I have chatted with one another. I do hope that you are well – I know Mum will be taking good care of you – among others no doubt.
Kevin and I have re-acquired your electric bed and is it sitting, assembled, in the middle of our livingroom. It seems to be that it fits in as your couches and lamps and end tables are also here. I look at your bed, sitting on your couch, and imagine that you are still there. I can see the worn spots and know that’s where you lay. If I imagine harder I can see you sleeping there – peacefully – wanting just another half hour to sleep. Yup – you sure could sleep, mister. I remember when you didn’t want to ever get up, the day Mum passed away. I wouldn’t want to either. But you did – I know you did it for me. I cannot imagine how difficult that was. I’m not sure I ever told you how much that meant to me to have you “up”. I needed you. I needed you to be my Dad. And you were.
You are still my Dad. And I still miss you.
You would be so proud of your family – Ben, Katya, David. They have all grown up to be fine young people. They still have the best manners in town and a real sense of caring and adventure.
Today is David’s first day back to school, Dad, and so begins another journey for all of us. He has become such a handsome young lad. I so remember everyone telling me how beautiful Mum was, followed by, “and you look just like your Dad!”. I didn’t think that was great until just a few weeks ago when I met someone who knew you and Mum when you were in New Lowell. She told me how handsome you were and what a stunning couple you both were.
No school for me today. My physical health is improving, but I am still mentally challenged. (Sounds worse than it is) I most certainly cannot handle the stress and pace of school yet. But I’m working on it. I feel lost. I couldn’t even figure out where to write this blog. So, I chose to sit beside your bed. I also turned on your photo frame and am watching images of you and the family over the years. I watch as pictures of Auntie Helen and Uncle Wes flash by – they were always smiling. There is little David, the basement you built in our old house, you and Mum sitting by Jamie’s pool, you and the Civitan folks splitting wood… Life has indeed changed. I’m not sure what my role in it is anymore. I know I’ll figure it out – but today is very confusing and I wish you were here to offer me some pearls of wisdom.
What would you have said to me, I wonder? “The only thing that is constant is change?” Would you have said, “There is no point in worrying?” Would you have reminded me that Mum was a worry-wart? I think mostly, though, you would have listened to me. I miss that.
“Wise old owl, sat in the oak – the more he heard the less he spoke – the less he spoke, the more he heard. Why can’t you be like that old bird?” you would add somewhere.
I think my glue is missing today. I’ve come a bit undone. I’m not worried. It’s just different.
I keep seeing photos of you and the Marlatts on the screen. They were such good friends – and continue to be for me. I hear from them quite often – for which I am grateful. They really did adopt us once you and Mum passed away. You would be pleased to know that I’m sure. I’m not good at returning their calls, though. That may bring Mum a bit of comfort as I didn’t return hers as much as I should have either! grin.
Good friends. Good family. Good health. What more could I ask for? I know what you would tell me – “Without your health, what have you got?” And you were right. I would not be here to tell this tale today without my health. Dad – it was close. I almost didn’t make it. If it weren’t for the efforts of my doctors, I would not have seen Ben off to University, Katya home from Europe, nor would I have seen David off to his first day of grade 7. I am so very, very grateful. Kevin kept me busy with sports and activity this summer too – we biked, kayaked, walked, hiked. It was a wonderful summer. I have such great memories. Perhaps someone, someday will watch the photo-frame in the living-room as images of this summer roll by – with fondness?
Here I sit, Dad, beside your bed. Summer flashes by before me. I know you aren’t there – but your world has once again become tangible. I appreciate this small moment. It is just you and me. Father and daughter. I know what else you would tell me. You would tell me to not do too much and to take care of myself. I am, Dad. And so are my family and friends watching out for me. I find myself, once again, counting my blessings.
I’m thinking, though, that it is time to be productive. There are so many things waiting for me – chores that were put off all summer. The kids go back to school and work – Kevin back to work – Grandma is volunteering… and I suppose I need to get up and get busy too.
It has been nice talking to you, Dad. Who knew that I could actually talk to an empty bed and feel good about it? It’s almost like, for a moment, you “sprung” back to life. (Pardon the pun – but I know you always appreciated a good joke).
It is difficult to once more say, good-bye. So – I won’t. Instead, I will close as we always did with a TTFN (Ta-ta-for-now).
With much love,
Good ‘ol Stace!