The greatest thing in the world are friends who become family in your heart.
Tonight my dodgeball family got together for our annual Christmas party/secret Santa. There are so many great pictures it was hard to pick one to share but something about this picture just resonates with me. I love these people, they are my family. Gil and I are blessed to be part if such a loving, supportive community.
Four years ago today my father, Jim, died at age 72. I didn’t know about it. No one called, no one wrote, they wouldn’t know how to reach me even if they wanted to and trust me, they didn’t want to. When he died it had been a decade since the last time we saw each other, the last time we talked. A decade since I walked out declaring “I don’t need this shit!” then cried on Gil’s sofa for two solid days. Despite this, despite the fact that our relationship had always been fraught, always been brusque, when I found about his passing (a year later) I was deeply hurt. When he was alive there was always the promise of possibility. The relationship however broken still had the exiguous potential to be mended. Improbable I know, but I don’t think that daughters ever stop dreaming that some day they might be Daddy’s little girl; even when those daughters are 37 years old and Daddy is … Jim.
Death means that door is closed forever and I have to let go of my Disney fueled dream of a grand reunion.
Death means that the music for our closing credits isn’t going to be Linda Ronstadt & Jame Ingram singing Somewhere Out There but will remain always and forever Johnny Cash covering Trent Reznor’s Hurt.
Death takes any opportunity for an apology, his or mine, off the table, and trust me, we both had lot’s to apologize for.
So he is gone and I wasn’t there for him, like we were never there for each other and I feel his absence more now in his passing than I ever did when he was alive. But strangely, and perhaps irrationally, I also feel much more at peace with him and closer to him. I find myself talking to him, as I have my mother in the 31 years she has been gone. I believe that somehow in death he has found the peace and comfort (and sobriety) he could never find when he was alive. I believe that despite our many failings as father and daughter that he loved me in his own way, that he would want what is best for me and that from his lofty perch in heaven he is looking out for me. I truly believe that all the anger and mistrust and crust gets shed with the mortal coil.
Tonight I lit a candle for him and I prayed, for myself, for lost opportunities, and for him because at the end of the day he was my father, he was also, someone’s friend, someones uncle, brother, cousin and once a upon a time before he was anything else he was someones sweet faced baby boy and I think it’s important we remember that everyone used to be someone’s baby.
He was never really a part of my life. He was gone from the picture before my memories really started forming and the time we spent together in my adult life you can probably compress into a month. I didn’t invite him to my wedding, There is no mention of me in his obituary. We were well and truly disconnected. There have been so many hurts it doesn’t seem possible that I could find peace but somehow I have. I find peace in remembering how he took his coffee, what brand of cigarettes he bought. I find peace in remembering he was good with his hands and he liked to tinker with electronics. I find grace in knowing I have his mother’s nose. I find solace in knowing he was cared for by his friends and his neighbours.
I can’t change the past and though I wish it had been different, our relationship was what it was. I let go of anger and resentment a long time ago. He was my father and today would have been his 76th birthday and I grateful for his life because without him there would be no me. Thank you Jim.
Yup, that is a newly born ME! All dark haired and serious, giving the world the stink eye already. I had no idea what I was in for but clearly I was skeptical about this adventure.
And now here I am on the cusp of turning forty. Sometimes it feels like I fell asleep at aged 5 and all the rest has just been a wild, vivid dream I might still wake from still a tiny wee girl with a mom and dad and two brothers at home. It has all gone so fast. Really!? Wasn’t I just turning 16 the other day, so excited to get my Sweet 16 pendant and beginners?
We are indoctrinated from a very early age to fear and dread turning 40. No age, that I can tell, inspires such backlash, especially for women. I suppose it made sense 100 years ago when our lives were expected to be so much shorter but now? Forty feels … exciting. I feel like I am at the gates of Disney waiting to be let in. Anticipation, curiosity, confidence, some awe and a small desire for the days to slow down a bit it’s all there but no, nothing of fear or dread.
Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go.
2013 was another big year for me and mine some bad but lots more good. Shall we take a stroll down memory lane?
- The year started with me still in a cast, that kind of sucked and my toes were cold ALL the time.
- Gil took me to White Point to celebrate my 38th birthday.
- My brother Mike left on the HMCS Toronto for a VERY long deployment. That sucked too.
- The Pope resigned but it turned out for the best because we got an AWESOME new one.
- In March I started running again…. briefly.
- We lost my sweet Grammy and the whole world became a less good place.
- My fellow geeks banded together to celebrate SZJ IX. Dang, 9 years of awesome.
- Aimee and I went hunting… maple syrup.
- I got a bike and even learned to ride it… mostly.
- In May I ran my first 5k. I came in last and enjoyed every moment of it.
- My god son Logan was born! YAY! To solidify this year of the boy he was shortly followed by his second cousins Oliver and Seumas. I love them all.
- I got my inner lady bits lasered out. Yeah, that’s TMI
- I quit Maxwell Paper, and this time I meant it.
- In June I ran the Sole Sisters 5K with two amazing women.
- I started at NSPI and despite some extensive bitching I still think it was a good move.
- I had one of the best weekends of my life with Aimee and Bonita and discovered I am a savant at drunken dart playing.
- July brought the epic, hot, insane feat of Mud Hero with Gil and Terry. It was…. crazy.
- Our household increased by one as my nephew Kian came to stay for a weekend and never left. we actually really like having him, it give us someone to blame stuff on!
- We went to the best wedding when Dave and David FINALLY got married.
- My Brother Mike came home for deployment and I was able to finally able to take a break from worrying about him.
- August was a busy month but we managed to find a weekend to head up to Cap Pele to have a long over due visit with my sister in law Amy, my nephew Eric and his lovely girlfriend Alisha.
- We went to PEI for a dodgeball tournament and had an amazing time with our dodge-peeps.
- We lost Grampy at the venerable age of 96.
- We entered September covered in paint, caulk and channeling Mike Holmes as we undertook our bathroom renovation.
- I saw my life flash before my eyes while we were Tidal Bore rafting with Clint, Shelly and Selena.
- I fulfilled a dream in October by participating in the Run For The Cure. I was so proud of myself.
- Gil and I celebrated 7 years of straight up marital bliss.
- We had a provincial election and I was exceedingly proud of my friend Brendan Maguire who won the seat in his riding Halifax Atlantic.
- Aimee and I went on the best road trip, epic BFFFE weekend to “the cottage”. It was cold but we channeled our inner pioneer and kicked the cold in the ass.
- I got to go see Reba in concert, live. She was amazing.
- I got to have THE BEST DAY EVER! An anniversary gift from my husband of a day to do what ever I want. It was amazing.
- I became Godmother to the sweetest little boy in the world
- December has been lost to winter storms and boy have there been a lot of them, it’s a good thing I am so fond of my co-workers
- we did manager to fit in a nice visit with Craig and Heather, it was great to see them as well as a large portion of our A.C crew.
- I became a film star… stay tuned for details.
- My sweet Baboo turned 42 and suddenly seemed to have all the answer to … life, the universe and everything!
So you can see it was a full year. I made some great new friends and some great memories. Thank you to everyone who helped make 2013 a success, let’s see what kind of trouble we can get up to in 2014!