Dad and I

Emotions ooze, wheeze, plod, siege, poke into and peak past my innards since Dad’s passing two weeks ago. Loss (many different kinds) anger, sadness, frustration, gratitude, joy, liberation, disbelief, quirky humor, black humor, horror, compassion, love, and (I know I said this already) – loss.   Vivid surreal and unreal scenes play like bad dreams behind my eyes. My heart feels pummeled, puffy – yet powerful.

I am tired.

I have taken long indulgent naps, watched the birds, reveled in the lush green spring, nuzzled the children, rested my head on Paul’s chest, tossed and turned, cleaned, cooked, and climbed. The rock feels good beneath my hands; the sun a blessing on my face. My arms are weak from a winter of post-surgery healing but my dog, my nose, and my lungs are happy to be outside. Summer remains elusive after a tumultuous spring of snow, hail, and rain. I gobble up the bits of sun between storms and wish for more energy to play and work. My thighs and shoulders are sunburned in patches after a Sunday afternoon mountain bike ride. Itchy bug bites polka-dot my legs, my head of hair hasn’t been cut for eight months and my bubble gum colored toenails are chipped and begging for a pedicure. There are bills to pay, shows to get ready for, projects to begin at the studio, thank-you-notes to write, a bulging e-mail “inbox” to reckon with, the hummingbird feeder to fill and plants to plant. Photos and video footage from the Nestle chocolate sculpture commission need to be edited and published (yes…I have gotten all of your requests and understand your curiosity to see results of the project). Giant industrious carpenter ants moved into my little cabin during the six week absence while I tended my folks and completed the chocolate commission.   I am squeamish when it comes to squishing BIG ants. Armed with my little purple vacuum cleaner; I am waging war to reclaim my space. I can hardly express how good it feels to be home in my little cabin at the end of a road near the top of a mountain. Retreat and rejuvenation accompanied by the patter of rain on my tin roof.

My father did not want a memorial service. We will travel to his childhood home in Nebraska – perhaps next spring – to bury his ashes. The ashes from my parents’ little dog Taz will journey from their current perch near Dad’s favorite recliner to Nebraska with us since Dad wanted Taz to be buried alongside him. My family is grateful for the exceptional care Chris Remely professionally and kindly bestowed upon us. The young owner of the hundred-year-old Dokken Nelson Funeral Home (and Howard’s high school classmate) Chris met several times with my father and us during the weeks preceding Dad’s death. Chris’s grace, concern and care were far beyond our expectations. We are thankful.