Happy Fathers’ Day. Especially to my Dad in Heaven….his first there.
I had just started this little blog this time last year…and had no idea that the card I’d make for Daddy then would be the last one I’d be able to give him to celebrate this particular holiday.
This card was the only gift Dad would take. He loved giving and receiving cards, but wasn’t ever big on getting material things, and even moreso since he was “simplifying his life” as he dealt with serious health issues, including the cancer that finally claimed him in January this year.
For whatever reason, I can’t bring myself to make a Fathers’ Day project this year–not even to honor the other sweet and wonderful men I’m blessed to know who are themselves great dads. It’s just too painful. My relationship with my father was a complicated one–definitely not always perfect. But despite his imperfections…and my own…I loved him and know –for good or bad– he helped shape me into the person I have become. And I was blessed to learn from him–both from his wisdom…and his mistakes. And I knew, finally…fully…without any doubts, that he loved me, and all of us, too.
I made this page in December last year to honor him (and my Mom)…as the little girl in me mourned the impending inevitable outcome of the 2-1/2 year battle Dad had with cancer. It’s very fitting that the photo of Dad and me is when I WAS a little girl. I didn’t have too many photos of us together as I aged. Daddy used to be the photographer in the family, and then I took on that role in my late teens. So, one or the other of us was usually behind the camera–hard to get photos together when that’s the case. As I was going through my father’s things after he passed, among the very few things he chose to keep as he pared down his life and belongings were photos I didn’t even know he had and barely even remembered being made….and among them WAS a photo that included the two of us. It also included my late husband and my late stepmother, and is also the ONLY one I have that includes my brother and his wife as well, so it is utterly priceless to me. Finding that amongst Dad’s treasures was worth all the tears I had to shed dealing with his paperwork.
My Dad, circa 1966
Also among Dad’s things were several other more recent…and much older…photos I had never seen (or forgotten about). The funniest one, by far, is this crazy one of him, which was taken at my beloved aunt’s house at Christmas-time. Dad is wearing one of my cousin’s hats and aiming a toy gun that cuz got for Christmas that year. I definitely inherited my sense of humor from Dad. It’s one of the “things” I’m grateful to have to remember him by.
I miss him. We didn’t have any “unfinished business”, thankfully. My last in person conversation with him took care of that–as the eldest, he knew I’d be taking care of things when he passed. I promised him before I left him that day that I would make sure his wishes were honored–that unless he indicated otherwise, I’d make sure he was allowed to live out his life on his own terms–which meant being in his own home, living his life his own way. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, because he was in a lot of pain. But I kept my promise.
The last words we spoke to each other were on the telephone shortly before he died. The conversation ended with “I love you”. Every conversation with our loved ones should end with those words, because we never know when those will be the last words we share.
Today–right now, at 4:00 in the morning, as I deal with my insufferable insomnia– I don’t feel very creative. But, despite the sadness, I do feel very blessed. And later today (hopefully after I get some sleep), I have the privilege of making a birthday card for the mother of a dear friend. The timing is not lost on me here.
–Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today, sad though it may be. But I’ll honor my father by promising that I’ll remember I’ve got a lot of work to do, a lot of blessings to count, and a lot of life to live. –Terri