Saturday, March 14, 2009
Memories of My Dad
All day long, I kept thinking: Where did a decade go? I can't believe it's been 10 years since my father died.
I can still remember the day my mother called from Florida to tell me the news. I was extremely sad but not shocked because Dad had had Amyloidosis for 5 years, and during the latter 2 weeks of his life his condition had gone down hill speedily.
My father was a strong, quiet man. He loved his family but could be aloof with people he didn't know very well.
He loved playing tennis and watching western movies or tv shows. Mom still has a ton of old slides in her storage room from when Dad used to take pictures of holidays, birthday parties, and vacations. My parents would invite family and friends over and force them to watch an hour's worth of slides, placating them with cocktails and humerous conversation.
Our family took a trip all along the east coast of Canada. I don't remember it, though, because I was 4 or 5 at the time.
I do remember going to Texas and seeing the Alamo. ("Remember the Alamo" was the slogan, and I always have!) I remember my dad carrying me down into the Carlsbad Caverns in his strong arms. And, when I was a bit older (10 to 13), I remember Dad laughing at me for having my nose constantly in a book during our yearly drive to Florida.
I loved my dad, of this there is certainly no doubt. However, love is never just one-dimentional; it has many facets. In some ways we were a lot alike, in others ... not so much. We both demonstrated tendencies towards compulsive neatness and orderliness. We both shared a love of beauty and knowledge, curious about everything. And yet, my Dad had an introverted personality with some old-fashioned thoughts. I, who had my childhood in the Flower-Power, "All You Need is Love" 60's, and my teens in the women-liberating, war-protesting, sexual revolution 70's, sometimes disagreed with my father. I was young and fun-loving; I found my father to be way too cautious and pragmatic in his approach to life.
At one of the lowest parts of our relationship, my father said to me, "One day when I'm gone you'll miss me, Anne." I shook my head admantly, angry at him (I can't even remember why!) and thought: Never, never, never!
For the rest of my life I've regretted saying that to my father and hurting him like that. In the latter years, before his death, I tried to make amends, to get closer to him.
My father was right. He's gone, and I miss him. I wish he could see how well I'm doing.