It has been twenty years since we lost our dad. In wanting to remember him and conjure a bit of his spirit, I wasn’t sure how best to do that….
So I’ll write a letter. Let the words spill out and take shape so they’re real and at this, the twenty year mark of your passing, help you come back into focus for me.
Dad… We never met as adults. You never saw the twins graduate high school. Don’t know we all went on to finish college and university. You might take some solace from the fact that we got our acts together, and that we are happy. We have lives defined in equal parts by the special people in them and by the fact that we are good and hard working. Our work ethic was shaped by time we spent being your daughters.
I think of you when I hear cardinals, see big showy mums, or hear of someone who has had a bird fly down their chimney. I think of you as I watch my son’s growing obsession with fishing, or see my daughter absorbed in the wonder of something Mother Nature has shown her. I think of you when people ask where my kids and I got our blue eyes from.
I can paddle a canoe, split wood, plant and tend a garden, and smell a tomato worm before I see it – thanks to you. I can smile at remembering the hidden treasure under the rock in the garden, and now understand your pain at our upset over the disposal of the stray cat who threatened our bunnies. I don’t think ski-do’s should be fast or that rum goes with Coke. I can remember you laughing until you cried at something on TV and the way you prayed to Jesus Christ (!) when something was frustrating you. I absolutely love Vachon caramel squares and I believe it is alright to eat something you have hit with your car if it is feathered.
We always thought you were a nice guy, who loved the outdoors and who wondered how you ended up where you did. We loved when you would say you had wanted enough daughters for a baseball team, and we especially loved lying in bed at the cottage hearing you laugh and talk with family and friends over the hiss of the Coleman lantern.
If you walked through the door right now, I would tell you that flying is not so bad, especially if you are drugged. I would tell you I married a city boy, but that he’s a wonderful dad and you two would get along. I would introduce you to the most marvelous people you will ever meet, your grandkids. And I would tell you to stop bugging mom and singing those songs to her that get on her nerves, she has been incredible over the years and we wouldn’t have gotten through losing you if she hadn’t been so strong.
Thanks Dad. I remember you.