Neil Gaiman says:

Neil Gaiman says:
pic by Allan Amato

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Five years

Photo montage for Dad's funeral & visitation
I was thinking of my Dad today; it is the fifth anniversary of his passing. It seems surreal that it is five years later and that it is snowing, and I'm here remembering. It is real/ yet not real-- for me he is always vibrantly alive, sparkling with his humour and intelligence, gentle love and support. And yet, he is definably gone as well; no physical hugs, no sharing of stories, passing along of books, awkwardly and accidentally pressing the wrong button on his electric chair while bending over for that good-bye hug.

It is the dichotomy of death; wherein you hang on with all of your will to that which you do not wish to lose, and at the same time there is the ultimate letting go. You cannot hold it strongly enough for it to stay, it can never be that way. The soul slips through your fingers and joins the ether; that great unknown beyond; whether to comfort, omnipotent awakening or the void. We don't know; no one has come back and said: yea or nae.

Gathering at the Royal Canadian Legion 618 Stittsville
ON for Norm Marsden's memorial.
I feel bittersweet this morning; an aching poignant squeeze in my heart. I miss him. But it is not the heart wrenching stab of excruciating loss of February 5th, 2009. It was so raw; a wound that would never heal; just bleeding out the wrenched scream of 'no---'.

There is that deep ache of the past wound; like the broken bone, healed that foretells of storms. Tears stand behind the eyes; to be loosed if (should it happen) a song randomly appears on the radio; whether 'Men of Harlech', or 'Singing the Spirit Home' or (and this did happen last year: 'I come from the land down under' while shopping for groceries)...

I miss him in a thousand tiny ways that seem insignificant, but they pile up like the grains of snow swirling, rising into an 8 foot drift on one side of the house and nothing on the other. Significant in that together they build the wavering remembered image of him, from all those tiny thoughts and feelings.

I find myself watching a movie and saying 'Dad would love this--I can hear him laughing right now!'. I am partway through a book and want to share a passage with him (as he would always share with us around the table). I am at a restaurant with Mom and our eyes meet, and we know Dad would love the food, or the atmosphere, or the server; using his 'universal language' of a big smile and dancing eyes to immediately cement a nascent friendship.

I miss him.

In ten years; my memories will be dimmer; the strongest ones will be of my childhood, swinging; hanging onto his thumbs as the enormous giant strength of my Dad lifted from the ground and made me laugh. My memories of him at his end will be dimmer; I will be hanging onto the warm, loving images I sort and sift; choosing the best and turning them like jewels in my mind.

But, Carl Hiaasen said things better... a character's eulogy that Mom chose to represent my Dad:

"He was a fighter, a real tiger, but he had a generous heart.
He was an idealist who believed in the innate decency and honesty of everyone he met.
He faced profound sadness in his life but he never let himself be defeated by it.
He never lost his sense of humour or his optimism.
He was one of the most positive and unselfish persons.
He chose a simple, ordinary life because he believed that was the secret to true happiness.
He wasn't perfect.
He had weaknesses as all of us do.
Impulsive moments, blind spots, and lapses in judgment.
He wasn't a perfect person but he was a truly good person and we'll all miss him dearly."