A Year Later……
It was one year ago today that my dad’s soul was released from his cancer ravaged body. One year ago today I said my final goodbye to the man who taught me so many of the really important things in this life; like how to ride a bike, and when you fall you dust yourself off and get back on that bike. How it isn’t easy at first and your really wobbly but the more you practice the easier it gets and you gain confidence. Soon the riding becomes so easy you don’t even think about it. Well dad my confidence with navigating the rest of my days without you is not as wobbly as it was a year ago, but I can’t say it will ever be so easy that I don’t think about it.
I have heard the saying what a difference a year makes, and in my case that is so true. The landscape of my life has changed dramatically in the last year. When my dad died he was the last parent in our nucleus family, my kid’s last surviving grandparent. There is something profoundly alienating when you realize you are now at the pinnacle of the living family tree. It is comforting to see all those beautiful thriving branches below, but knowing there is no one to shelter me from up above is a new concept for me and one that I had not thought about at all until I found myself up here.
I can also say in many ways I am better off now than I was a year ago, the stress of watching the strongest man I know slowly succumb to cancer has washed away. I also decided to take a really good look at my life and find my voice to change the things that were not in support of my well-being. That meant engaging in some drastic transformations in my personal and professional life. I basically went on a stress busting overhaul. At the same time almost without me being aware of it my support system has shifted and the results are profound, the people I have in my circle are these amazing polishing cloths that wipe the dust and layers off so my inner light shines brightly.
I am very sad that I cannot talk to my dad and ask his advice and hear his voice. But I am blessed that I had this amazing person to guide me for the years we had together. I always liked to run things past dad, while we were very different personalities we definitely had some similarities. Procrastination being one of them, if it’s worth doing, its worth debating and confabulating repeatedly before taking action. Our tendency for perfectionism also kept us from completing or initiating projects. I also inherited dad’s “tolerance to a point” approach, although I have not refined mine as well as dad. Meaning he would take a lot of crap before reacting. Particularly ribbing from his younger brothers, and once his gullet was full he would react decisively with the most poetic comeuppance in response. Some of these stories of dad’s reaction at the tipping point are part of our family legend. I have also inherited his need to stay connected, particularly to keep the family connected. Dad was the one who called everyone and kept everyone informed what the others were doing. He would call me and tell me what my brother, who lives a mile from me, was up to, he would always tell me you need to touch base with him once in a while. I am happy to report that my brother and I are very close and talk to each other almost everyday.
I couldn’t pay a proper tribute to my dad without sharing his penchant for stringing together the most interesting and entertaining chain of vulgar, scatological laced, heritage inferred diatribes when provoked. This could be sparked by any number of things, it could be a television remote that was not working properly, it could be something related to politics, it could be a Ram’s game or the most likely place for this kind of display was when dad was playing golf, his beloved game. We would always sit in amazement watching dad play golf he claimed to love the game but it would not appear that way when you played with him. I remember playing with dad in California, I was certain he was going to have an aneurism, his language was particularly colorful that day. My husband asked me if dad was having any fun. The answer was, yes he was, and that particular day he shot his best game in over 5 years and beat his brother on a side bet. Yet to the uninformed bystander they would have thought this guy was going to quit the game after that round!
Daddy I cannot thank you enough for all you have taught me, for all you have encouraged me to do, for the unconditional love and support you have given me. You taught me about loyalty and integrity, you taught me to make the changes necessary to support my well-being. Many years ago you made a change at the Sheriff’s department that meant taking a step back to support your happiness and I have done the same thing. And most importantly you provided me with a robust vocabulary that most writers would envy, too bad this is a PG blog, because much of it is going to waste.
My daddy, he was somewhere between God and John Wayne. ~Hank Williams, Jr.
Posted on October 6, 2012, in Cancer Journey, Humor, Life, Spiritual Journey and tagged cancer, dad, daddy, death, family tree, Grandpa, grief, Hank Williams Jr., vulgar, vulgarity. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.