If my dreams would allow I’d travel to the time where you held me close till I fell asleep. I could feel you carry me to my bed and place me down gently. I’d travel to the time that I’d hear you wake before dawn and I would follow you around silently as you prepared to go to the railroad in the morning. You’d pack your lunch, walk to grab your boots, turning around you’d place your finger over your mouth to ensure I stayed silent as I watched you. After you grabbed your coat, your lunch and bag you’d pat me on the head or leave me in the dark telling me to go back to bed. I watched as you left the house and would sit on the couch or go back to the comfort of my shared bed.
we were a family then. A family that was happy. I used to remember everything you said, all the things you did and I held onto those teachings, emotions, hurt and pain for a long time. I remember seeing you in the hospital room, aged. I was heavy hearted as I would comb and braid your hair, or wipe your mouth. You were so frail, changed from the strong man who my dad once was. I didn’t know then, what I know now about your life.
I knew I was going to lose you that December day and I remember thinking about what you used to promise me when you wanted me to do something. “do the dishes and I will dance at your wedding” “clean your room and I will dance at your wedding” “sweep the floor and I’ll dance at your wedding”
At 15 I was angry, and sad. I thought back to gardening. I tried to recall the memories that were good so I wouldn’t think about the anger. I remember hot summer days by the river fishing. I remember cool summer evenings digging in the dirt planting. I remember fried meals and middle of the night road trips. Strawberry Lake, Spirit Lake, White Shield and the cold wind blowing us around in an open pickup bed, piled under blankets and sleeping bags so we could all fit.
Cold December night I sat with you, wiped the blood from your mouth, held your hand as the relatives came to say their goodbyes. I held your hand as I watched you take your last breath and I remember we all prayed. We said the prayer as we let you go into the cold December night. Your battle was over, your life lived, your time complete.
Your friends still call me your daughter. We recall the life you lived, the choices you made and the children you shaped.
Happy birthday papa ~ We remember you this day. Love the little girl.