Sunday, October 23, 2011

What I Miss The Most

I miss my dad, a lot, all the time.  Lately, I’ve been thinking about what it is about him that I miss the most.  As anyone who knows me know, I love lists.   So here’s my list so far for What I Miss The Most …

 *I miss seeing the wrinkles that formed around the outside corners of his eyes when he laughed or smiled, both of which he did A LOT.  So often people don’t want to be photographed if they are not at whatever they consider to be their best – their hair isn’t just right, they need to lose a few pounds, the weather is too hot/cold/windy, they don’t have the “perfect” outfit on, etc.  I’m so grateful that Dad didn’t worry about any of that; having so many photos of him, especially when not everything was “picture perfect,” has been and continues to be so comforting to me.

*I miss his technologically-inept, stream-of-thought text and email messages – which he typically signed with his initials in lower-case or two slash marks or both.  He didn’t worry if everything was exactly right before he texted or sent an email.  He just wanted to convey a message, and he did that so well through so much more than just with words.  His emotions (usually his enthusiasm and humor) were evident in those messages, and they were contagious.  The emails and text were full of life, just like he was.

*I miss his excitement for whatever was coming up – he loved to make plans, always wanted to “have something on the calendar” to look forward to.  I am finding that to be good advice for moving forward in my grief, too.

*I miss watching his interaction with his grandchildren.  They called him Gramps, and their relationship with him was different from every other grandparent-grandchild connection I’ve ever seen.  He was not only one of their biggest fans but also a one-man Entertainment Committee for them (and for us).  He loved to plan things that he thought would amuse and delight them.  For example, when he knew one or more of his grandchildren were coming to visit, he loved to hide from them and then jump out and “scare” them (it wasn’t really that scary because he did it every single time!).  He loved to tell them ghost stories, complete with a flashlight and scary noises for emphasis.  When my parents first moved into a new house after Mom retired, Dad schemed for weeks about how he could best use the little historic graveyard right in the middle of their new neighborhood as a prop when the grandkids came to visit.  When the day finally arrived, he sneaked around the back of the neighborhood while my mom took the kids on a walk so that he could hide in the little graveyard.  It was a grand plan, except that (a) he wasn’t really that sneaky – the grandkids knew from his behavior and the look on his face that he was planning something before they even left on their walk, and (b) some of the neighbors (who didn’t know him yet) saw him hiding under the tarp waiting to jump out at the kids and were ready to intervene (they told us later that they had been considering calling the police), thinking it was some creepy guy waiting to attack an innocent woman and her grandchildren!  

Dad laughing, after a shaving cream attack by the grandkids

*I miss hearing his voice – talking and singing and laughing.  We have some audio recordings of his voice, but of course it’s not the same.


*I miss his goofiness, his sense of humor, and his willingness to take a joke and to make fun of himself.  When my younger daughter was learning to ride a bicycle without training wheels, we had a set of Barbie biking gloves, helmet, and knee pads (in case of a fall).  Dad saw them later in our garage and put them on himself, which was funny - but not nearly as funny as it was when he discovered the knee pads were so small that he couldn’t get them off without assistance.  (We "let" him wear them for awhile just for effect before we helped him get them off.)

Dad, hamming it up with Mom's purse

*I miss the inside jokes and the memories that only the two of us shared.  There were so many, and I'm so afraid that I will forget some of them.  Some of them are important; others are not so much but still help to quell the pain in my heart when I think about them, like when I was a teenager and I bragged to him that I was learning sign language.  He said, "I already know sign language!" and then demonstrated his skill level by flipping me the bird with both hands (all of this while he was driving down the road).  

*I miss his perspective, his positive attitude, and his way of dealing with different types of people and situations.   He never missed a chance to say hello or to speak kindly to another person.  He always looked on the bright side, and he felt so lucky every single day that the rest of us, by association, did too.

I am sure many more things will go on this list in the days, months, and years ahead.  Simply put, where my dad used to be, there is a hole in the world, one that I keep finding myself either having to walk around or falling into.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Stephanie,
    My Grandmother made an impact on my life somewhat like your Dad. Missing her is one of the few things that brings me to tears. I can only say, she was a gift to me and to many and I'm thankful she was a part of my life. I feel an emptiness without her and want to talk to her so often. My love for her is like a secret I carry in my heart that will always be there. She is gone. I hope to pass her ways to my children but it feels like an impossible task. I want to be like her. I want her out look, her perspective, her laughter and love of life. I think my GG and your dad would be great friends.