Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Remembering My Dad

This is weird, but I don't know that I have ever written about my dad here on my blog! His name was Kelly. He was beloved by everyone. People say he had one of those personalities that made him sparkle. You can just see it in the photo, can't you? I wish I had gotten to know him better, but sadly, he died when I was 5 1/2. 
Sunday morning we went out to visit the cemetery where my he, most of my grandparents, and great-aunts and -uncles are buried.
Cemeteries mow, but they do not keep the grass from growing over the headstones. It was a lot of cutting and ripping back sod; they were really badly overgrown. It's so morbid to come across worms and ants during the process. Burial is an interesting thing. While I was cutting through roots, pondering death and the literality of expressions like, "pushing up daisies," Coco and Theo were having a great time. They absolutely loved the cemetery. Many of the graves had pinwheels and other decorations for Memorial Day and they found it all very festive and enjoyable. Oh, the innocence of childhood. Sort of hilarious, really!
I realized that this was the first time I've been out to see my dad's grave in years and years and years. Certainly since we've been back in town, but I don't recall exactly the last time before that. It's not exactly a fun place to go. My dad was so young when he died, just 34 1/2 years old. He had a brain tumor and the same kind of brain tumor today is just as deadly as it was then. It's awful to say, but I find that oddly relieving. In the photo above, you can see how the grass was grown right up to their names. His mom, my sweet Grandma Marie, is buried in the same plot as my dad. The stones were covered in dirt and dust after we were done cleaning. Next year, we'll take a dustpan and brush to get all the dirt up and a scrub brush to clean them.
It's a really strange thing to hit the age when you've outlived your parent. For me, it was the spring before we moved to Minnesota. I find it curious that what followed was the most miserable, chaotic time of my life. But, it's also when we welcomed sweet Theo into our lives. So, while Minnesota was truly a living nightmare in some ways, it was also just as beautiful in that we had our sweet baby Theo there. It really was like yin and yang, the extreme delight and dramatic despair of those months.
Theo's middle name is Kelly, after my dad. He even looks like my dad. Staggeringly so! My dad's neck and belly and whispy hair in the photos above look exactly like Theo. When I look at Theo and see my dad's button nose, reddish hair and big brown eyes, it's stunning to think that I'm now older than all of the photos we will ever have of my dad. He was so young.
This is my dad holding me as a baby. He had outrageously good hair, did he not?! And I also look like Theo as a baby. So cute to see.
Here is my dad during his Navy days. And no, that is not a Hipstimatic filter - it actually was October 1969! ;)

I hope you had a chance to remember your loved ones this Memorial Day, particularly those who died while serving in the armed forces. Sending love and hugs as you remember the special people you've lost along the way. I know how it feels. xo

6 comments:

  1. What a beautiful tribute to your father. You look just like him! I too lost my Dad a few years ago. I just had my first child this year and I think of him often, wondering what he thinks of me as a mom. I know both of our fathers are proud of us <3 Thanks again for sharing the lovely photos.

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    1. Thank you, Amanda! I love this. Our fathers are certainly proud. Congrats on your first baby. It's the most magical time. xoxoxo

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  2. You can really see the resemblance between you two! I lost my dad when I was 19. I recently had my first baby so its stirred up a lot of feelings about everything he's missed but I'm grateful for the years I did have with him. ~K

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    1. Thank you so much, K! I know just what you mean about having a child and the feelings getting all stirred up. Sending hugs. xoxo

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  3. Hi! I am catching up on your blog and found this lovely tribute to your father. I am so sorry for your loss. Too young to leave this earth for sure, especially with little ones. The end of this month marks 5 years since my father's death. He did not live to meet his 3 grandbabies (2 from me and 1 from my sister). He would have been the best grandfather. You know, as much as I regret leaving Switzerland, I am glad we did because I got to spend one more year with him. We lived with him for 8 months after we got back, and then 4 months later he was gone. Crazy, huh?

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    1. So crazy! I am so glad you had that time together. It makes my heart skip a beat! One year, my mom had an assistant whose mother died in a kayaking accident. Just by chance, they had spent the entire Sunday before she died together, despite living in different cities several hours apart. She was equally grateful for that time. Life is fleeting. It's hard to find the balance between living in the moment and remembering that our time is finite. So sorry about your dad! Sending hugs. xo

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