It’s been four weeks to the day… to the day he didn’t come home. My first posting about my father was about how the rest of the world saw him. It was my intent to write this post very shortly after, and for whatever reason, I didn’t. It almost seems too personal to share here on my blog, readily available for public consumption, and yet I’ve thought about writing it every day since. So here we are. I suppose this is just part of my process in losing this man I loved and who is so much a part of who I am.
When Dad was home he was just Dad. It was his place of serenity. My parents have lived in the same home for 30 years. It is a beautiful, quiet piece of country side and on it sits the house by Dad built for us, for the most part, all by himself. It’s how he liked to do these things you see… on his own. His perfect day was spent in his workshop building his latest carpentry project, only breaking to walk his dogs through the wilderness that is my parents’ property. He’d come up to the kitchen and stand at the island to read for a moment, fill up on oatmeal cookies and observe his family as we went on with our tasks. He wasn’t in to small talk, so unless you got him going on a topic of his own interest (at which point he spoke boldly and, more often than not, was quite opinionated), he was happy to just observe – to know that we were all there, in his space, safe at home.
He worked hard, for all of his years. Harder than anyone I’ve ever known. He believed in honesty and responsibility and took pride in his accomplishments. His only goal was to make sure his family had what they needed. …we were all he needed. He wasn’t much of a ‘people person’, and yet his reach into his community and the industry he worked in for 40+ years was immeasurable. The day we gathered to say goodbye, colleagues and proteges from decades ago came out of the woodwork to share their stories about ‘Dave’ and the memories they still carry.
My favourite photos of my dad are the ones I took when he didn’t know I was looking – when he was absorbed in whatever moment was occurring at the time. Many of them were the quietest of moments. The moment he was testing my son’s new remote control truck on Christmas morning will forever be the ‘shot that got away’. I was so absorbed in the moment myself that I neglected to reach for my camera. There was a joy on his face that only Xander managed to inspire. It’s the Dad I will always remember.