Remembering Dad

I’m not sure if it is morose to always remember this day, or respectful?  For me, however, today is a day that was forever seared into my memory.  It was four years ago today that my Dad passed away.  It was peaceful and swift and almost without incident.  It was almost a non-event- had it not been for the fact that I still grieve for him to this day.

It was seven o’clock at night.  I have heard it said that you are more likely to pass away at the time of day when you were more active.  Morning people, for example, tend to pass away in the morning.  My Dad was a night person.  He sure liked to sleep in.  He would have never done well in a nursing home where there is a regime of breakfast at 8:00 am, lunch at noon, and dinner at 6:00.  Being home with care allowed him the luxury and dignity to make his own choices.  Afterall, for all that he gave to family and country, I would think he deserved that.

My friend, Janine, taught me to speak to him as though he were still alert and with me and, so, as he lay in his bed in a seeming coma, I did.  “Good morning, Dad”, I remember saying to him this time four years ago.  “It is a beautiful day.  You would really enjoy being outside in the woods today.”  And I raised the blinds.

Dad loved the woods.  He always called the property where he and Mom lived for twenty some odd years, their own Walden Pond.  I would often hear him recite a passage from Thoreau’s novel while he was in the midst of the forest:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”

I’m not so sure that Mom wanted to live “Spartan-like” and would often tease him about being “cheap”.  Of course, she ended up getting what she wanted anyhow and then they would laugh about who actually wore the pants in the family.

I think I have a bit of Walden Pond here in my own back yard.  While it is named a much less elegant name, “Bear Creek”, it most certainly does evoke the longing to live among nature. The birds fly wildly by me as i write this post and the wind passes gently through the trees to rustle their leaves just enough to create a glorious philharmonic of sound.  I really must try to learn the bird calls, I am reminded.  I’m not sure which call belongs to which bird.  Dad knew them all and could whistle them right back.  He got a kick out of communicating with the birds.  He got a kick out of most things in his life.  I’d like to think that when it came time to die, realize that he had lived richly and deeply.  I’d like to think that he, as I, had sucked the marrow of life.  I know he cut a broad swath and that his path will be remembered forever.

There is no time to waste on regret or anger.  There is always a solution to any problem.  There is no room, in life, for jealousy and lies.  There is always more joy in rejoicing with others about accomplishments, and supporting one another’s lives.  To love deeply, to forgive readily, and to rejoice in the glory of the moment is divine.  Not that Dad was perfect, but one tends to become more of a saint after death.  Okay, Dad is still not a saint – but he sure was my cheer-leader.  He appreciated the care I gave him, the food I cooked him, the time I spent with him listening to his stories.  I brought my family to visit and eat dinners with him, I played his favorite music, and I shared his wine with him.  I remembered Mom with him, I recorded his stories on a blog for him, and I reassured him that he was going to be okay.  We watched fireworks from his balcony, shared Remembrance Day tears together, and kept in touch with his friends and family.  Maybe he did not live in Walden Pond during his final days, but he sure lived life deeply.

One of the best lessons he offered me, however, was to “remember the good times”.  Be positive.  Appreciate what you have.

Thanks for the good times, Dad.  Loving you still – Stacey.

About inmycorner

This blog began as an opportunity to tell my Dad's stories. I sat with him and the computer and together we told stories. It was a wonderful way to get to know Dad. He was 9. He and Mom had a wonderful life together and since she passed away a year and a half before him - Dad was ready to join her. I no longer tell his stories but have found stories of my own. The impetus to resume this blog was the discovery that I had stage 4 ovarian cancer. Since blogging had been so therapeutic for my dad and I to get through our grief, I felt maybe this would be a good outlet to process my situation. I also hoped it may serve as an outreach to anyone else who is facing this very ominous journey. So far, so good.
This entry was posted in acceptance, Bill Duff, cancer, family, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Remembering Dad

  1. This is a beautiful post and I especially like the quote from Thoreau. (I wonder if his wife was in tune with this idea, or if he was single when he lived in the woods?)
    I’d like to reblog this sometime soon, if it’s okay with you.

    • inmycorner says:

      Thanks Christine. And, yes, I wonder? I know my Mom was – to a certain extent – but I think she was happy to finally move back into town when they were older. grin. Of course you may reblog. I’d be honoured.

  2. Judy says:

    I’m also going on my fourth year without my dad. I think it’s beautiful how you acknowledge your grief (I feel it, too) but remember the many sweet aspects of his life with this touching tribute.
    . It was very tough for me and my father at the end dealing with a nursing home. Those are memories I prefer to let go of. What a gift that your dad was able to be at home. And I believe your dad is with you still – just in a different way.

    • inmycorner says:

      Well, isn’t that something? I wish I had known you four years ago and then we could have shared our journey as it unfolded. I’m sorry that you don’t have good memories of your Dad departure. My Mom died in hospital and those memories are ones I’d like to forget. Hence – I vowed I’d never repeat that and kept my Dad home. Life … and Death.. funny things sometimes.

  3. Gwen says:

    What a lovely tribute to your Dad. His positive outlook has certainly carried on to you, my friend.

  4. Love this post – you must be so proud of your Dad. Royal Canadian Air Force – my Rod was in the RNZAF. I agree with Judy – so lovely to have those good memories.

  5. Reblogged this on Christine's Collection and commented:
    I’ve wanted to reblog this post for awhile now, and today I think it fits very well with our Daily prompt word: praise.
    What beautiful memories Stacey has to treasure!

  6. AprilEsutton says:

    Interesting. This is the second anniversary of my Dad’s death. Mom died three weeks later.

  7. lifelessons says:

    Stacey, My dad was a storyteller, too. Wish I had recorded more of them word-for-word. Actually, we did, but on a tape recorder and all the tapes were wiped out by the time I tried to transcribe them. I think your dad must have had just the death he would have wished on his own by his own rules!

    • inmycorner says:

      Oh, that is frustrating. You MUST try to remember the stories and write them down to the best of your ability! And – he DID – no one told him what to do or when to get up. (Other than – he had to take his pills – grin)

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