December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas to My 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.

8 comments:

Crissouli said...

Such a sad memory, but beautifully written. We never stop missing those we love, I'm sure they live on in our hearts forever. That would have been such a dreadful shock to you, As children, we don't have any conception of the fragility of life, and that's as it should be.
I still mourn my much loved, paternal grandfather, he died when I was just five, but nobody told me, till I saw his funeral pass by and asked the neighbour who was looking after us, what the parade was for.
I feel that horrid emptiness whenever I think of him, but the love I had for him stays with me always.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Crissouli what a shock that must have been for you! Thank you for your kind words. Yes I suspect I will grieve for my father, for the what-might-have-beens forever.

Lorine

Dana Leeds said...

My heart aches for you! I hope you had a beautiful Christmas yesterday, even if part of it was spent in sad reflection. I can't imagine the pain you went through that day, and I can definitely see why each Christmas since could be bitter and sweet.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Thank you for your kind thoughts Dana. We spent the day quietly and treated it as any other day. I have found that works best for me.

We celebrated with family on the 23rd and will celebrate with 26 more family members in a few days. That helps me to not do it on the actual Christmas Day.

I hope your holiday was peaceful and full of family and love!

Lorine

DenaP:) said...

Hello Lorine, Thank you sharing. Christmas must always be bitter sweet for you. My mother died on Mother's Day when I was twelve. Forty-two years later it is still a difficult day when my children want to recognize their Mom.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

DenaP - it must be very difficult. I find it easier to get through Christmas by not making a big deal of the day. I like to pretend it's just another day! But that would be difficult to do when your children want to show you their love for you on Mother's Day.

Ranae Kallman Feick said...

A beautifully written tribute to your Dad. My Mom also died young, in her late 40's. Didn't you find that you didn't realize how much you had lost until you had children of your own and he wasn't there to share your joy? A reminder that I need to sit down with my grandchildren and tell them a story about my Mom. Thank you for sharing. Happy and Blessed New Year to you and yours.

Emery St. Cyr said...

Dana, Cherish your memories but don't let them bring you into a depressed mood, rather be thankful for them and the love and family that he brought you into. Pass those values that you learned from him on to your family and show them the value of being loved.These things are memories to cherish that will last a life time.