June 20, 2010

Sharing Memories (Week 29): Dear Old Dad

This is Week 29 of our 52 weeks of Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey Journal. I hope you'll join us with your memories! Write them down - you don't have to share them. Your memories can be private - write them in a journal at home, or they can be shared publicly here on OliveTreeGenealogy Blog or on your own Blog.

This week's topic is a hard one for me. It's all about Dads. I was very close to my father. We did so many things together (fishing, playing catch...) and he was always very kind and loving. But when I was just barely a teenager, he died. It was Christmas Day. He was 47 years old.

I still remember sitting and looking at his presents, still unopened, under the Christmas tree, and wondering who would open them now. Strange how the mind protects you from grief that is almost too much to bear.

There hasn't been a Christmas since that doesn't end up with me in tears. That's how amazingly strong the feeling of loss still is. My friends in High School would complain about their dads - the curfews and rules he gave them, how strict he was, etc. I'd listen with a knot in my stomach, wishing I had a dad who was still around.

For 49 years my father lay buried in an unmarked grave. No one but me even knew what cemetery he was in, but the cemetery didn't know which grave was his. They told me his ashes had been buried at my mother's request in what was once called potter's field. That upset me greatly as I could not visit his gravesite.

But a few years ago, a dear man on the Ontario Mailing list took it on himself to find out where my father's ashes lay. The cemetery did have the records (of course!) and they gave him the exact plot location.

What a wonderful gift he gave me! I thought about my options and after my mother passed on, I arranged to have my father reinterred in Guelph with his parents, brothers, grandparents and other family.

The journey was completed and our family gathered for a joint memorial service for both my mother and father.

Now not only is my father resting in peace with a plaque to honour his brief presence on earth, but I too am resting more peacefully. And Christmas passes a little more easily for me.

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