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Monday, June 20, 2016

Letting nature take its course

Dear Dad. I was fine until I saw the meme that started, “Dear Dad.” It pictured an empty bench in a forest setting. It said, “My mind still talks to you. My heart still misses you. And I know in my soul you are at peace.” Then the floodgates opened. I cried for half an hour.

This was our ninth Father’s Day without you. I like to think your energy lingers with us and in some ways your spirit remains. But that gives me mixed feelings because if you are still somehow aware of what we are thinking and doing here in life, then you are aware of the fact that I still break down at the sight of your face. I stare at the photo and I can hear your voice. Sometimes it is all a bit too much, so I pace myself.

I allow one memory at a time. I will sit quietly, as in meditation, and wait for a memory to come forward. Then I will enjoy it as a daydream. I can feel the sinewy muscles of your arm over my shoulder. I hear your teasing, gruff voice. I smell your after shave. I have many photos of you but your face is emblazoned on my brain so I don’t need to look at them often. I take some of them out and arrange them in the gathering room for Father’s Day. They prompt memories and conversations. It almost hurts to put them away again. To put you away.

There is no way to get over the grief of losing a loved one. You must let nature take its course. Time seems to numb the pain but it never really goes away and is easily revived. I don’t think you wanted us to cry for ten years after you died, however. I’m sorry. I’m trying. Most of the time, I remember you with laughter. I speak to you when I need reassurance or extra confidence, before a big meeting or presentation. It might be just that I am reassuring myself but I feel much calmer and stronger after those one-way conversations.
Cathy and Mom make a point of going to your favourite places on Father’s Day. They can’t get to some of those places by boat anymore, because we no longer have your boat. So they drive over, and then they hop the fence to the restricted zone. It’s all very espionage-like. They giggle and reminisce and enjoy your presence. I remember thinking I didn’t want to focus a day on trying to connect with your memory because it would just hurt too damn much. I said I didn’t want to join them when they first asked me, because I could just picture myself crying all day. But now I’m wondering if I’m ready. Maybe on the tenth year I will do more than just take out your photo. Maybe I will join Mom and Cathy at your favourite places. If you are aware of us still, I think it would make you happy to see us together for the sole purpose of remembering you. Why else would we be on a snake-infested island with no boat??

We had twenty people for our Father’s Day dinner tonight. It was a raucous event. We watched the baby in the pool, splashing her own face and loving every minute of it. We mentioned your name and raised a glass to your memory.

After dinner we watched the sun set over the field the Farmer just planted. He managed to cut himself on the only dangerous part of the seeding machine, but says he is bandaged up and ok to go away on his fishing trip tomorrow. Fishing and farming and my husband is a happy man. We planted the two middle fields Dad, because the cattle are rejecting the hay that comes off them and they need a replenishing. A fresh mix of clover and timothy and fescue.

Your family is doing well. Your grandson is an athlete and sometimes we see you in his moves. Your granddaughters are beautiful young women, inside and out. You would be so proud of them. Your great-granddaughter flashes me a crooked smile I think you must have given her before she fell to earth. We miss you very much. And we are letting nature take its course. 

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