You’ve been gone a month, and I want you to know how very much I miss you every day. I miss your voice. I miss our Sunday calls. I miss your annoying questions about Windows (I’m not sure how many times I could tell you that I haven’t touched a Windows machine for over 10 years, except at your house). I miss worrying that you’ll get a Mac because then I will have to deal with your computer questions. I miss conspiring with you and against you with Mom.
I know that you had no intention of leaving us, and I’m not yet sure if that’s more comforting to me or more horrifying. One the one hand, I know that you went into your surgery with complete peace, knowing that you’d be home and recovering in a week or so. You weren’t scared, you just wanted to feel better. But then I think of all the things you were planning to do that you didn’t get a chance to do. You were going to enjoy being home while Mom watched Anya, though probably annoyed that you had to keep reminding her that you couldn’t pick her up or have her in your lap for a while. You wanted to get the Model A running again. You were looking forward to seeing Brock graduate, and hunting with him and his other grandpa again this fall. You were looking forward to seeing the women that your granddaughters will grow up to be. And I know that you were looking forward to getting yourself out of the financial pickle you left Mom in. I suppose that when we stop looking forward to things, that’s when we die inside, and I know against everything that you had not stopped living inside – you loved life too much.
I think I knew, deep down inside, that your health was declining over the past several years. Since I only got to see you a couple times a year, changes in your body were magnified unlike they were to Mom or the boys. Over the past several years I noticed that you had started to develop a hunch – the “old man’s hunch”. You were also shrinking besides that. You had always been taller than me, but lately I was catching up to you (or, rather, you were shrinking down to me). I’d always write off your changes, knowing that your occupation was very hard on your body carpentry is not an easy thing to do for over 50 years, and it’s bound to take a toll. Mom said that you’ve been sleeping more and more over the past couple years, but we figured that fixing your heart would fix that. Unfortunately it did fix that….just not in the way we had hoped.
I can’t say that I have any regrets, though, Dad. I know that you had a great life. Sure there were times when we didn’t get along as well as we could have, but overall we both just loved each other. I’m so thankful that I was able to come for Thanksgiving last year. I know how much each of those family holidays are to you, and if I wasn’t going to make Christmas, I know that Thanksgiving was just as good for you (maybe better). Plus I got to capture a photo of you when you were feeling pure joy you with your camera, surrounded by your family at Thanksgiving, what more could you have wished for?
I’m also so happy that I got to spend a bit of extra time in Minnesota in January/February this year. While it was for a sad occasion – the death of your mother – we really celebrated her life rather than mourning. Plus we got to spend some fun time together at the water park with the whole family, and just you, me and Mom at the Winter Carnival and Hudson Hot Air Affair. I will treasure those memories forever.
And, despite your protests, I’m so glad that I came to see you off for your surgery. I got to see you one last time, and that last dinner with you and Mom is worth more than everything that I own. I think Mom and I drove you a little nutty, but, then, that’s what we do. Plus, I got in an extra hug at the hospital. Everyone made fun of me for hugging you well before they wheeled you away, but I didn’t care, and will cherish that one extra hug.
I know how very proud of me you were. I know that you didn’t mean to leave us. And I will always be thankful for the time that we had together.
I miss you, and I always will. I love you, and always will.
Your loving daughter,