Today I thought about the man I knew, but didn't know. The one who gave me life, provided for me, loved me, held my hand while we walked down the street when I was little, and was everything a father needed to be for a girl. He was kind and strong, quiet and loving, his faith was strong, but not flamboyant and unbelievable, it was private and you knew it had to be real. He sometimes got tired after work and needed a nap, got frustrated with silly things children do, spanked me once with a red belt I had that was so flimsy it didn't hurt but I cried anyways, later I was I'm sure he picked that belt on purpose. He did needlepoint under a tree one summer on vacation. He made all of us kids home made kites one year, and I don't know how well they flew, but mine was red with a white maple leaf on it.
Today he would be 70. It's a strange thought because in my mind, he'll never be older than 53. So does he get to be younger in heaven than the rest who die at a really old age? In a way he would never be older than 45 because that was the year his life changed forever and he would never walk again, never scratch his nose, or steal one last cookie without having to ask someone to grab it for him (see I am all about the cookies). My memory is losing the propensity I used to have for details, but there are some moments that seem to stand still in time. Like when he traveled out of town for work and always brought home caramel apples from Banff. Or the time he took me to the driving range and I hit him in the head with a golf club, totally by accident. Or the time I taught him to ski and took him up to the top of Lake Louise knowing it was green all the way down, and he spent the rest of the day on the bunny hill, and I don't think ever skied again. I remember the bus rides I would take to visit him in the hospital in high school, 2 buses and the C-train to get there every Tuesday.
Today I think how hard it must have been to leave your homeland, go across the ocean and start a new life for yourself in a new country at age 17. Will my children be prepared enough to look after themselves when they leave home? I don't think I want them to leave! Not for a long time still! What memories will my children have of me? Will they remember the fun moments, or the times I get frustrated because they leave such messes? Will they know that I try to do everything because I love them? Will they think other things in my life were more important than they are? Will they know they are loved? Beyond anything!
Today I think of all the things we've missed not having him here. The way he and my husband think the same, and would connect. The way he would sit and watch his grandchildren with such pride in his eyes. The things he could teach them without hardly a word. The knowing. And so I have to tell them stories and hope they come alive because there were no video cameras then.
Today I am also glad he's sitting with Jesus and out of his pain, waiting for us. We had chocolate cake in memory.