My dear readers, I have been gone a very long time. I spent November happily writing away at my novel. Then December came. With the winter weather, came a long struggle for our family. My father was critically ill. All through December, I watched this strong man wither and grow weaker by the day. He fought so very hard. But sadly, he lost his battle two weeks ago.
There are no words that can express how it feels to lose a parent. There are no words to fill the empty place in my heart.
My pastor asked if I would speak at his funeral. This was not something I could do…those words would not have come. But I am a pianist, and I was able to play a Chopin piece for my father. I taped his picture to the sheet music and it gave me strength. They tell me it was beautiful. And I am a writer, so I was able to write some words for the pastor to say. I know you do not know Dad, but I would like to share those words to honor him.
When I think of my dad, I don’t really remember specific incidents and anecdotes so much as I get an image in my head of the man he was. A feeling that comes to me when I think of him. He was a quiet man of very few words, but there were these looks he got on his face that tell the story of who he was.
He had a serious look that he reserved for work. It was a look of deep concentration. Whether it was business work, or carving a turkey with my uncle, or even packing the dishwasher to perfection as only he could do. My childhood memories of him are often of him sitting in his den working on something from the office. This was before computers and he had a big adding machine that made loud noises and had the big roll of paper. He would be sitting there working with that purposeful look. But he always looked up and smiled when my brother and I came in to bug him. He would let us type in numbers for him on the adding machine. We were probably responsible for more than one costly bank error, all because Dad was willing to indulge little 6 and 7 year old children who wanted to be just like their dad.
He had a look reserved for my brother and I, and later for the grandchildren. It was a look of immense pride. It was there on his face when we did something wonderful, on big occasions like weddings and graduations. But it was there on normal everyday days as well. A look that showed we were the most important things to him. A look that said we were loved, no matter what we did.
There was an amazing look he had whenever he looked at my mother. I truly believe that she was his princess. Even after 47 years, when he looked at her he always saw the beautiful young girl that first captivated him. It was a look of true adoration. He was the consummate gentleman who always held her coat for her, pulled out chairs and held doors. He made sure that she never wanted for anything. I never saw him treat Mom with anything but true respect. He set the bar pretty high for all the men that came into my life. He had this look in his eyes up to the last minute he was aware. A look that said “I can’t believe I was so lucky to have someone like you as my wife”.
Then there was the soulful look he gave us all whenever he was sick and in the hospital. Whenever he was going into surgery. It was pride and love and fear all rolled into one and it went right to your heart. He would hold our hands and give us a look that told us family was everything to him and that all he wanted to do was see us again on the other side of whatever ordeal he was about to endure. He gave us that look on Thursday when he knew it was time for him to let go. This look thanked us for a lifetime of love. And I know that we will indeed see that look on his face again, on the other side of even this. We just may have to wait a bit longer this time.
So that’s where I’ve been. My holidays were not merry and bright. But spring is around the corner, so the groundhog tells us. I will be back. Thanks for listening.