This past Mum’s Day (she’s British) I traveled to the ol’ homestead, all three miles away, and thought of Dad. Come August 14, it will be four years since he died. (How he truly died, who knows? The paramedics said he had a massive heart attack, but there was no autopsy. He was whisked away, and before you knew it he had become nothing more than a pile of ashes.)
There, at the house, were a smattering of siblings as Mum held court with her beloved children. But the presence of Pops was palpable.
We sat, as we usual do there, in a circle, drinking our respective beverages (alas, mine was only tepid coffee from a jar. JD would have been preferable), and chatted away. As always, Dad was brought up, and various stories ensued about this man, our father.
He hated such gatherings. Too many people. He would sit there, in the Lazy-Boy and utter not a word. Sometimes, when he was especially peeved, he would stroke his temple with an index finger and clench his jaw. When he had had enough of all the cacophony of chatter he would get up, go to the kitchen, and hope to find an errant spoon to wash, anything to get away from the braying of folk in the living room.
“Sometimes,” one of my sister’s said, “he confided in me that he would wash the dishes and when they were all done he would put some back in the sink and wash them again.” All to get away from the boisterous blabber beyond the walls.
I remember two years ago, on yet another occasion where we found ourselves in a circle (why do we sit in a circle?), Dad was mentioned and I told the assemblage that I think of Pops every day and say hi to him. This same sister replied, ” C’mon, Paul. It’s been two years.” And a brother added, “I don’t think of him at all.”
I could not believe my ears. How could they not think of this man, our father, a man who selflessly gave everything to his family? Sure, he was an exceedingly private man, but that was the only thing he was selfish about (if you can call it that). I thought my siblings’ comments to be quite callous and distressing, to know that that is how they felt about our dear father.
I stayed for about two hours (“Leaving so soon?” my mother would ask) and got up to leave. It was a pleasant visit, despite the feeling of Pops in the air. It felt as though if I had suddenly looked up, he would be there, hunched over, with huge glasses and purple hands.
Soon I shall venture to where the heron’s roost, a place he was very fond of, and where I dispersed a few of his ashes. It is a quiet, restful place, a calming peaceful spot, a place where my Dad would stand and watch those magnificent blue herons.
Even though it was Mother’s Day, Pops always lingers in my mind, memories of what a wonderful, loving father he was to me.
I love you, Dad.
Copyright, Paul Grignon – 2014