Thanksgiving Thoughts

Dad in tractor

Thankfully there’s always another chance to love, to live, and to get it right, until the day we die. — Maery

Last Thanksgiving, I was at my Dad’s with my siblings — holding his hand, talking to him, hoping he heard me say how much I loved him and how sorry I was we hadn’t had much time to get to know each other.

On November 28, 2008, he died. We fell apart. There was no Thanksgiving meal. Not everyone was able to be there so we figured we’d wait to have a memorial service. We still haven’t had it. It’s a long story. A really long story.

I wonder sometimes what he would say about my current situation. He always expected a lot of his daughters. Not much sympathy coming our way. I wonder if I would be a disappointment. But, you don’t get to be disappointed in the children you didn’t raise. And anyway, I’ll never know what he would have thought or what he would have said or done. It doesn’t really matter.

Yes, it does. I just don’t want it to matter to me.

Dad and daughter

I miss him. I miss the sound of his laugh, his hugs, his dry humor, his arguments about politics, his philosophy on horses and life, his stories, his poems, the dandy way he dressed, the sight of him pulling weeds and raking around his home, the way he handled a horse. I miss him.

Dad and his dog

When he died, it was more than losing him that I grieved, so much more than that.

It was the loss of the possibilities of our relationship. Of what could have been after we met, and what could have been if he had never given me up in the first place.

In some strange way, he grounded me. I’m not sure what we had in common besides the love of horses and that part we shared of being in tune with the critters. We were both hard workers. Both had that dry sense of humor. Both got pretty spun up over politics. We were different though in the importance we placed in family and in the relationships in our lives. He carried hard work too far. He carried his pride too far. His expectations too far.

Dad working

Still, I lost something indescribable when I lost my Dad. I can’t put my finger on it. A part of my history? A part of me? A dream of love and acceptance from a father? A sign of what we all meant to him? I don’t know.

I never got to finish the mourning process before I got shaken out of it a couple weeks later and had to concentrate on trying to save my marriage. But I didn’t really move on. I’m sure you’ve all had the experience of what happens when you stuff thoughts and feelings. I was angry, frustrated, scared to death, hurt, confused, and incredibly sad. And those feelings came out about things that had nothing to do with the feelings themselves. Then more loss, piled so close on top of each other that it seems unlivable. I guess loss always seems that way.

Dad with horse

Like I said, I miss him. And maybe I miss me, the me I might have been, the me that I saw in his eyes, the me that should have spent hours riding with him but never got to, not even once.

About a year before he died, my Dad had asked me to write about my childhood. But I never did because I didn’t think it was the kind of story he really wanted to read. I think he longed for a fairy tail with a happy ending as much as I did.

I think I need to let go of that person that might have been if… Who knows if she would have been better or worse.

There is the woman that I am today, right now. And if nothing else, she’s interesting.

I hope my family will have the chance to have that memorial service sometime in 2010. I think we need it. I know I do. I think we need to be together and share stories and grieve this out and maybe mend some fences and pull some weeds, both literally and figuratively, in honor of our Dad.

Dad on cart

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  1. Everyone deserves just a few words..even if no one else has a memorial need to have your own private one for sure..
    You need it to continue the grief process that you are in.. otherwise it is like a book with no ending. Or getting up in the middle of a movie and leaving..Closure..everyone needs it. You deserve closure:)

  2. I am sorry you did not get the chance to find out the possibilities, to answer the what if, to get to know your dad, and have him really get to know you.. and to ride with your dad.

    I think just writing this post may be the start of the process to grieve for not only your loss of your father, but the loss of the healing between you both….

  3. Thanks for your kind thoughts. I hope there will be a family memorial service next year. I will probably have my own private ceremony to grieve all the other losses that have occurred since my Dad’s death. There are so many that come with divorce.

    As I think on that, it’d be nice if I can get my friends to join me rather than just private because after grieving, there should be a follow up ceremony to see the future possibilities, perhaps they can help me see the gains that I am too sad to see myself.

  4. This post made me cry and touched my heart. The photos were very special, too. You are lucky to have such wonderful memories of your Dad.
    I wish I had been able to know my own Mother as an adult. She committed suicide when I was only 8yrs old, so I don’t really have much memory of what she was like, only what others have told me….like my Dad who doesn’t have many nice things to say about her at all….


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