A year in heaven

This week, March 6th, to be precise, marks the year of my dear father’s departure from this world. I am an only child and losing him has been monumental. I knew it would stink, but I had no idea! I have been filled with emotion this entire year but on Tuesday, the 6th, I was BEYOND my usual level.

I thought it would be healthy to write–a catharsis of sorts–and , perhaps I could speak to someone else’s mourning–maybe extend comfort to others. But I didn’t write. I was so full of emotion, I couldn’t write. IĀ felt like locking myself in a closet and drinking a bottle of Skinny Girl Margaritas, but I ended up running on the treadmill to “Sympathy for the Devil” instead.

I am out in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, skiing with my family–an activity and a place that were very dear to my family. My Dad loves it out here–he loves the mountains, he loves fishing and skiing and he hadn’t been able to join us the last few years because of the altitude–he had emphysema. I think the last time he was here was in 2003, in the Fall. We all went hiking and up to Jenny Lake. They fished at Dick Cheney’s country club (smiles) and we went through the national parks singing some silly song I learned in college. My son remembers those days and the song (“it’s vinter in the vunderland and the vind blows on the vindowpanes and all the viggy vomen write philosophies on the vestibule…).

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It seems like years ago. I can’t really fathom the reality that I will never ever see him again–at least in this lifetime. When this fact permeates my soul, I go from completely O.K. one minute to breaking out in uncontrollable gasps of weeping–bordering on hyperventilation. Life just isn’t as wonderful without him on the planet. He was a kind man. A loving father and husband. One of those rare gentlemen whose humor and dignity got all of us through a lot of hard times. He wasn’t a man of many words (as my mother and myself) but he came up with some good ones when they were terribly needed. He would even mediate my marital blow-ups! He loved my son, his only grandchild, his namesake (the two of them pictured above), my mother, me and my husband and even my husband’s children (when I didn’t). He loved my cats and my dog. I remember when my dog was a puppy and I rescued him from a shelter in upstate New York and had to buy him a plane ticket to be brought to our town. My dad had picked up the dog at the airport (always doing me favors) and brought him down to our house. The puppy had had a nasty accident all over his kennel and of course my sweet father cleaned up the entire mess and the dog before he was presented to me (this was my first dog and would have been my last had I had to deal with the mess).

I’m not sure where I’m going with all of this. I just want to remember him today. I love him so much and I miss him even more. In trying to comfort his mother, when his father fails to do so, my son reminds me, “just think of the great year Grandpa had in heaven!” Oh, how I want to believe that. I really do. I think that’s why they call it faith.

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