How can time pass so quickly…in the twinkling of an eye really, and yet in looking back on the years, they seem so many. Seven years seems like such a long time, but not when you are looking back to the moment you lost your dad…or any other loved one for that matter. When I look back now, it feels like just yesterday, and yet each year as the twelfth of December rolls around, I find myself thinking about just how long seven years is…or any number of years since my dad has been gone. Somehow in my head…or maybe my heart…I never thought I would live even one day without my dad in it. I thought he would always be there to offer guidance, to share laughter and even tears with. In his wisdom, he has taught me so much. He could make sense out of a situation where I found only anger and frustration, and he always dealt with these situations with kindness. He was slow to anger…something many people, including me, could learn from. Now, I have lived seven years without my dad…but not completely without him.
In reality, Dad is with me every day, because words are alive. I still hear his voice, carrying words of wisdom to me at just the moment I need them. In my memory, those words and the sound of his voice live on. I can hear his laughter ringing out after he has just managed to pull one over on me. Dad was always one to look for the positive in every situation. He loved to laugh and tease his kids and grandkids, and we loved it too. Life in our house was full of laughter, and often overly excited kids…much to Mom’s dismay at times, because while Mom was trying to get a couple of things done, Dad had situated himself beside the doorway to the living room in the kitchen, and one of the little kids was running back and forth trying to get by Dad before he could get them. The child was delighted and this game and the laughter was loud and constant. Dad was just as delighted as the kids, because he was, after all, a kid at heart…and always would be.
Those last years…when I realized that he wasn’t invincible, were hard ones for me. I wanted things to go back the way they had been, but that was not to be. The time he spent in the hospital in a coma, I could only think, ” I want to hear his voice again!” And I did hear his voice again. He knew he needed to stay then, because we needed him so badly. I spent a lot of time with him when he got home, nursing him back to health. I didn’t know then how much the extra time with him would mean to me later. It would be a time of storing up his words of wisdom, humor, and just everyday life, in my memory files, for recall when I needed them most. It would be a time of storing up pictures of him for later viewing…pictures of the hard work he put in to come back to us…pictures of his face filled with delight as he pulled one over on us…pictures to draw on later, when I needed to see him again. Now, I see him all over Mom’s house, and hear his voice, always at the moment when I need it the most. I think the time spent so closely in those last days was in some ways a time of preparation for after he went home. I am so thankful for those close times, because I miss him terribly, and those close days are the only consolation I have now. I know that Dad felt how much I loved him, and knew how much we would miss him. But his main concern was that we take care of our mom, which we have done to the best of our ability. That was my dad…never thinking of himself, just of those around him. I can’t believe that seven years have passed by so quickly, and I wish we could have him back. I would gladly go back in time, if I could have him back, but that cannot be, so I will look to the future, when I will see him again. Until then, he lives on in my memory. We love and miss you so much, Dad.