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December 25, 2010

Here's to you Dad

This is the only photo I have of my entire family at Christmas. It was taken in 1955. I'm the youngest one sitting on my dad's knee and holding a very precious gift - a walking doll.

I was very close to my father and it came as a blow when he died at the age of 47 on Christmas Day 1960. I still remember the gift I bought him that year. I was in Grade 9 and had gone out on my own and purchased a little daschund china dog with cups hanging from its side. And there it sat, unopened, under the Christmas Tree while we waited for news from the Oshawa Hospital that Christmas Day.

I was curled up in a chair in the corner of the living room while my mother and older siblings whispered in hushed tones in the kitchen. I remember our phone ringing many times. I remember the endless waiting while I stared at those unopened presents to my father lying under the tree.

It was my brother who came to tell me that our father had died. The phone had rung and everyone was quiet. I heard nothing until my brother came into the living room and said "He's gone" It was difficult to feel anything except shock and bewilderment. 

I don't remember the rest of the day except at one point I sat in front of the tree and unwrapped the gift I had bought my father. I don't know what happened to that little dog with hanging cups. I'm glad I don't have it. I have enough sad memories at Christmas without a constant reminder the other 364 days of the year.

I still miss my dad even though 50 years has passed. Christmas is a hard time for me. I love my family and love watching them open gifts, love having the big Christmas dinner(s) but late afternoon and early evening Christmas Day is a reflective and sad time in my heart. I'm always surprised by how much I still miss my father!

So Dad - here's to you on this Christmas Day. You are not forgotten. My children and grand-children hear my stories about you and your life - as short as it was. Your photo hangs on my living room wall. And you are the reason I started searching our family tree. It was all for you. And genealogy led me to many marvellous things in my own life. Death took my father at far too young an age but I won't let him be forgotten.


Kathy Reed said...

I'll be thinking of you later in the day. I'm glad you wrote such a wonderful tribute honoring your Dad 50 years later.

Mary said...

A very well written tribute to yuor Dad. Thanks for sharing.

Elizabeth O'Neal said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Lorine. You just never really get over the loss of a parent. May you find peace this Christmas.

Marlene said...

What a beautiful tribute you have written. I know about the sadness that goes with Christmas. My mother died Christmas Day 1986, then my father just a few months later. The lonely feeling is even more intense now that my hubby has passed away too.
Abbotsford, B.C.

April (McGinnis) Cullen said...

I never got to meet him, as I was born in April 1961, but I like to hear stories about him when I can. I miss my mom this year too, so I can understand your grief, though you were so young at the time of his passing. Hugs from your niece, to my favourite aunt, who has always been there through my life, even when we don't see each other often.

Genealogy Blogger said...

Thanks to everyone for their kind words. April I wish we lived nearer each other. I miss you