We had one of the best snow hills in Athol. You basically walked, well slid, out the front door to the bottom of the hill, for hours and hours of fun. I have a video, taken by Patrick, with my uncoordinated self speeding down the hill, screaming and laughing hysterically. I end up in an overturned heap with the sled on my back. And Pat’s voice asking, “Are you alright?”.
And I play it again, this time through the bluetooth thingy connected to my phone so it resonates around the room: are you alright?
Few voices exist for me in my world like Pat’s did. When we were dating and he called me every evening that we were not together, it was so incredibly wonderful to hear his soft, reassuring, gentle tone. So when I hear you alright? my heart does a double flip sideways.
Loss has become a continuum for me. I have seen this evolving for awhile. Writing has made it become clearer though. Losing my father at 16 was so very hard. And while my mom did two-thirds of what needed to be done in terms of money management, household chores and childcare, my father’s presence, I always remember, as being very large. He wasn’t even that tall of a man but to me he seemed huge. He always had the funny quip or story and he was a terrible tease. He was very charismatic and well liked by many people from all walks of life. My brother is very much like him in a lot of ways.
So when I lost my father I began this never ending search to find him again. I do not mind telling you that I made some rather bad choices in the process.
But then I found Pat (kudos to you Bernie).
And I found my great presence again. He was an improved model too in the sense that he helped with the dishes, made most of the meals, and did the banking (his sideburns could never quite rival dad’s though). A husband to die for, my mother used to say. Like my father he was my protector and while I didn’t really need to be protected, it was really nice to be with a man who wanted to look after me. Are you alright?
AND so now I have this beautiful daughter, my Lisa Marie, who no longer has her funny, gentle, wonderful father. I grieve for her. Not because she cannot look after herself but because she no longer has the physical presence of a father who wanted to look out for her and tease her and love her to bits.
But we will be alright, Pat. We have your incredible spirit that visits us (so we think) in many interesting ways. I am not so sure it doesn’t exist in our new puppy the way she flies around this house like a Legere on speed. If there is one good thing about this grief continuum, it is the chance to think more about my own dad again and to enjoy conversations with my brother about our father and his super great ways. And then there is my brother whom I have said is so very much like my dad. Where would Beatrice and I be without his calm, steady, protective presence these past months? Not here. Not even close. We are on our way, my girl, and we will be alright.
Until next time,