It was Thanksgiving Day, 2004 and we had just buried my Dad. My lovely, sweet, kind and wonderful Dad. Gone from us.
I had been home to see him about month before, when we knew things weren’t going well, and I had tried to say my good-byes. Sort of. Because you’re never really able to say all that you want to say. I told him I loved him, tried my best to thank him for being the best Dad ever, and clung to him until it was time to leave for the airport.
I hugged my mom and sisters, boarded the plane and headed back to the United States; away from the family farm in rural Saskatchewan.
It was Thanksgiving day and I never realized until then what a gift a light travel day could be. What I had always imagined would be such a lonesome, awful thing to do turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
The plane was nearly empty. I didn’t have to make small talk with anyone.
I sat alone.
I ate alone.
I cried softly into the darkness.
It was on that plane, on Thanksgiving Day, that I was, once again, overwhelmed with gratitude. Gratitude for the gift of a kind and loving father. For 80+ years. Who gets that? I did. Lucky.
You didn’t know my Dad, so let me tell you a little about him. His name was Lloyd. He stashed cookies in his pocket & licorice in his truck. He didn’t travel without his newest favorite cap or a little grin on his face. He loved people, but he had a soft spot for children. He taught me where to find Saskatoon berries, to love and care for animals & appreciate the land we farmed, to be fearless, to drive a stick shift, to read the sky, and to dance while standing on his shoes. He taught me that real men cry, adore their wives, tickle their children, and are playful, gentle and loyal. My Dad was a man of few words. He didn’t need them I suppose. His actions spoke volumes. My Dad .. showed up.
6 years have passed since he left us and it never gets easier.
You never get over it. Time does not heal; that, my friends, is a lie.
We. Just. Get. Through. It.
I Miss you Dad, on this day and every day.