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Posts Tagged ‘grief’

A little box pops up on my Mac…Fathers Day is tomorrow.  I just stare at it.  Let it sit there for a minute.  There have been 14 Fathers Days that have come and gone since he passed away and each one is different.  The first one was very difficult and I had no idea that Fathers Day was even coming up and then I walked into a Rite Aid and there it was a huge sign, Fathers Day is Sunday June 20, 2004 with a huge display filled with cards and gifts. I stood there staring at it just like the little sign on my computer but with tears in my eyes and a twisting of my gut.  I whispered out loud, but I don’t have a daddy anymore and then remembering that the last time Fathers day was more than just a day to celebrate my dad, it was also the last day I saw my father alive.  Each Fathers Day after that is a remembrance of him and I going out to get lunch at a brewery in Irvine.  As a kid it was the day we made daddy breakfast in bed or gave him silly gifts but as an adult it was the day I took him to get him food and something related to beer.  This time he sat with a large tray of beer samplers.  I don’t drink beer, so they happily were all his.  He sipped and commented on the mix of odd hops from pumpkin beer to super dark brews.  He was happy as we sat and talked.  He had recently taken to letting my mom take the helm and work and him being the stay at home husband.  He would fix things, do laundry, watch a little tv and talk to me sometimes while I was on break from my working for a large corporation from 9 to 6.  I wasn’t immersed in my work, it was okay but I was bored and unchallenged by it.  I did like he money but hard to spend it when working 14 hours a day.   The company was noticing my lack of drive but I didn’t realize it until one day I was asked in a meeting, do you like your job.  I instinctively answered, of course, I love my job.   Knowing somewhere inside the real answer was, no I am not challenged enough and need to express some creativity soon or I will burst.   My boss nodded and said, well okay but I don’t think he was buying it either.  I think my father sensed it also, he would come and visit from time to time, everyone in the office loved him.  He had a huge child like smile and would brag about his youngest and how proud of her he was (that is me, if you didn’t get the reference yet).  I was so glad he was proud of me, I hadn’t always been the best daughter in the world but at least now I felt like I wasn’t letting him down or worrying him about my financial status.  I think parents always worry, even if just a little and a good parent like him, wants to help out even when I was financially taken care of.  When he would come to visit he would fix things, he even changed he handle on my refrigerator door so when I opened it and was standing at the stove, I could just reach in, grab what I needed and put it back.  He wanted to help his little girl and it was so sweet and I loved it but what helped me more than anything was our talks.  Was him opening up about his experiences, his childhood and those rare moments when he would talk about what it was like for him being my father.  Those are the conversations that stick with me, those are the things that on Fathers day I remember.  I only wish I had taken more video of him, recorded his voice more or written down every moment where we connected.  One in particular conversation stands out, the last one we had while sitting in that brewery.  We were both relaxed, and enjoying our food and I asked him what  being at home was like for him. He said he was enjoying it and then he told me the words that stuck with me, “I spent way to much time chasing money instead of my dreams”.  I knew in this was some regret, I knew he had wanted to do more sailing in his life, had wanted to teach but he seemed to be in a place of more calm than he had been in.  He seemed less stressed out.  I knew he was right and that life isn’t all about money but it is about memories and doing things that make us happy.  I also knew he was a good father and he worked jobs he may not always have loved because he wanted his wife and children to be taken care of and he was wiling to sacrifice some of his dreams to provide that for us. I had a great respect for him now and I saw him as wanting to be happy and at peace in his older years.  His children were grown and he didn’t have the same pressure.

Shortly before his death a month later, in a one on one meeting with my boss, I was asked the question again, do you like your job and I blurted out No I don’t.  He paused and looked at me and said, we knew this and were trying to figure out what to do.  It was discussed and we both agreed that I didn’t fit in at this job.  He said to me that I was like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole and it just didn’t work.  We decided I would stay for another month, giving me time to train someone new and look for another job.  Then my dad passed away and they graciously let me stay for another 2 months while I worked through emotions and looked for work.

Now 14 years later I have discovered so much about myself, that I love being creative, that I cherish times over things (though sometimes I do miss being able to just randomly buy a nice purse or a pretty new dress), that I can survive more than I thought I could and that I am happiest when being creative.  I think my dad would like my artwork, I think he would still say he is proud of his little girl.    I am not sure where my path with my artwork is leading me, but it is what makes me happy and I know he would want me to be happy.

I walk into a Rite Aid now and see all the Fathers day signs, cards and gifts and I smile at his memory, I know I still have a daddy, he may physically be gone but his heart, words and love are always with me.  Thank you daddy for all you gave me and still give me.

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