Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Remembering Dad...

It's hard to believe it's been five years. Five summer visits without him. Five birthdays without a crack of dawn phone call on my birthday (He said it was the only time he was SURE he'd reach me...)

But, you know, it was time, and the timing was perfectly choreographed. My children and I had just returned from a visit to Massachusetts. He had just spent an afternoon at my sister's house with all four of his children and nine of his grandchildren (#10 was born the following April). He and my mother had just celebrated an anniversary.

I had been home about two or three days when I received the call from my mother. She then asked me if I wanted to speak at his funeral. I needed some time to think about that.

So, I packed up my kids and did what we always did - we went to the Y. With a pair of (then) three year olds, I was bound and determined to use every second of the nine hour per week childcare limit! I signed them into the nursery, made a few phone calls and headed to the shower.

There I simply cried. It was quiet, peaceful, and I learned that "Love never ends....". I also was flooded with memories of the things my father had taught me through the years, and I decided I would speak at his funeral. To appreciate it fully, you must remember that my father spent half of his childhood and all of his adult years, blind.

This is what I wrote and read:

"....My mother asked me if I wanted to speak today. My first thought was "Gosh, I don't know what I would say", but I agreed to think about it.

Then, I started remembering some of the things I had learned from my father through the years:
  • I learned that there are other, perhaps better ways to "see" than with your eyes.
  • I learned how to pour a glass of water in the dark without spilling a drop.
  • I learned that blindness isn't the handicap: surrendering hope, ability and perseverance to your "difference" is, something my father often refused to do.
  • I learned that humor is a great way to address what the world perceives as your weakness
  • I learned that just because the world stares, doesn't mean you should not do it, or stop doing it.
  • I learned that the world isn't fair.
  • I learned that what I did with the unfairness is what mattered.
  • I learned the importance of "Attitude" and the consequences of both a positive and negative outlook on life.
  • I learned that "If you'd thought about it first, you wouldn't have to apologize now"
  • I learned that men DO ask for directions.
  • I learned that it's OK to ask.... the worst thing that can happen is they'll say no.
  • I learned that although it may be effective, "You don't always need a sledgehammer to swat mosquitoes"
  • I learned that he wasn't always right: Nurses DO do more than empty bedpans.
  • I learned that *I* wasn't always right either.
  • Once I had children of my own, I learned that the ridiculous house rules -- like "wash your hands after you eat", "don't eat in the living room", "if you put things away after you use them, you'll know where to find them" -- do make sense after all.
  • I learned that family time does matter.
My father encouraged me to read aloud. He encouraged me to speak in front of people. He encouraged me to write. He encouraged me to try new things and to do my best.

I know that he loves me. I use the present tense because, although his body isn't here with us anymore, his love is.

And, I find myself now smiling rather than rolling my eyes when I hear myself say:
"wash your hands after you eat"
"Don't eat in the living room"
"If you put things away after you use them, you'll know where to find them"

I still don't know what I should say standing before all of you now, so I guess I'll just say, "Thanks, Dad".

Still not sure what to say....

so, again......

"Thanks, Dad"

No comments: