Monday, January 26, 2015

A Letter Home: The Funeral

At the beginning of all these letters to my father I always explain that my father and I are not close. We haven't spoken in over 30 years. As each year passes and my father ages I wonder if he'll even remember why he stopped speaking to me, but then some things you never forget. I guess that is reason why I write these letters. They are my therapy, my way of speaking out to him in hope of him not just hearing me but actually listening. Even if it's only on paper I feel some peace.

I attended a memorial service just a few weeks ago for a family member that passed away. I found out she passed from my middle sister, who told me my father would be attending the memorial. She was accompanying him so I asked her what she thought about me sitting with them. We both thought it was an ideal opportunity for me to start bridging the gap between my father and I.

On the day of services we met at the funeral home. When I pulled up I parked my car next to my father's. I waved but he did not respond. I figured he didn't recognize me so I got out of the car, smiled and waved again. This time he managed a slight hand motion. He unlocked the car doors as I gently tapped on the back window where my sister lie resting. We talked for a few minutes before heading inside. I made every effort to carry on a conversation with my father no matter the consequences. I asked question after question but he never asked me anything about me, my life or my children. I expected this, in fact, I did not have my hopes set high for anything. This was the first time we had seen each other in decades. What could I possible hope for. 

After the memorial services we all took pictures of the family. My sister suggested my father and I have a picture taken together. She even had the gumption to tell him to smile. I slipped my hand around his arm and smiled knowing it would probably be one of the last pictures I have taken with him. When we finished taking pictures we were told of a small dinner held at a different location. We opted not to attend but headed to a nearby restaurant where I shared a meal with my father. If I never see or speak to my father again I will always have those few short hours where he shared with me this thoughts while I sat quietly listening. How I long for him to do the same.

Dear Dad,

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed visiting with you at Judy's Memorial Service. I wished it could have been under different circumstances but it still meant the world to me. The memorial was perfect and I know Judy would have approved. I feel awful for not keeping in touch better with them over the years. The last time I saw Kim and Judy was a few years ago at Melon Days. We happened to be out at the cemetery when Kim saw me. It was like we had never lost touch. I remember all the many holidays, birthdays, Friendship Cruise, and Lake Powell trips we spent together as a family. I truly miss those days.

Gayle and I spoke of going to Green River this year for Melon Days as it's been a few years since both of us went. I know in years past you have had your cars in the parade. I recall you telling me you were working on a few more. Perhaps you will have one finished and be able to drive it in the parade. I'll be sure to have a curb-side view and take pictures. I made Gayle no promises but if I do go down I would love to visit again.

I neglected to ask you about your health but you seem to be getting around just fine. I hope you are doing well. If you head down to Arizona drive safe and enjoy the sunshine. The inversion in Salt Lake can be awful at times leaving us longing for blue skies. Its times like these I like to head to Park City for the day. Nicholas and I spent a Saturday not too long ago snow shoeing up Parley's Canyon. The sky was never so clear and bright. It was a wonderful day trudging around in eight inches of snow. I could not be happier. 

As always I hope this letter finds you in the best of health. Take care, I will write again in a few weeks.