Thursday, March 17, 2011

HNT - No Regrets

Eight years ago today my father died unexpectedly. He was waking in the recovery room after having a kidney removed and already joking with the nurses when suddenly his blood pressure dropped from severe internal bleeding. The clips had come off his renal artery (manufacture error or human error we'll never know) and he bled to death.

One instant, alive and making others smile. The next, gone.

Sometimes I think back to how I should have spent more time with my dad; listening to the wonderful and hilarious stories he used to tell (whether they were fishing tales, hunting stories or memories of his childhood and his years as a younger adult) - I know I would have benefited from simply knowing more about him while I had the chance. And at times, my heart aches for all the missed opportunities.

But instead of focusing on what I missed, I like to concentrate on all the times I did share with him, on all the stories I heard, on all the memories we created together.

Dad and I on my wedding day - 1996

And I'm thankful for the very last words I said to him before he walked through the doors and into the pre-op room that fateful morning.

I kissed him and said:  "I love you, Dad."

Yes, a grown man who is supposed to be embarassed about doing such things about saying such things, about being seen acting in this way. And in a rare moment in a public place, I tossed all those things away, kissed him and told him I loved him.

It doesn't make up for all the previous opportunities I missed out on, how, at a certain age in my childhood I stopped holding his hand, about the many teen years where, as children often do, I pushed away from and rebelled against my parents, and all the stories that I never got to hear.

But at least I didn't leave unsaid the important things in my heart.

I've long blogged about my Dad, and, particularly on this anniversary of the day I lost my father, I've come back to reflect on all the things he was to me.

Rather than repeat, I'll simply post links back to each year's memory.

2010 - A Man, His Son & Their Laughter
- Includes a poem I wrote for my father back in 1996)

2009 - Mourning Son
- I talk about my still unpublished novel Morning Son, much of which was inspired by stories from my father.

2008 - And I Miss You Just The Same
- Mostly pictures of my Dad

2007 - Dad, Four Years Ago Today
- Memories of the last hunting trip with my Dad and my cousin on Manitoulin Island

2006 - Still Miss You, Dad
- Basic memories, a lot of which I have repeated in this blog over the years; and the father/son poem

2005 - Miss You, Dad
- Simple thoughts of being a new father myself and thinking of Alexander and my Dad interacting

Dad and I playing Intellivision - 1981
For HNT this week, I thought I'd post this picture of my Dad and I playing Intellivision back in the early 1980's. I love this picture. We were collaborating on one of the simple initial game offerings on this system: Space Battle. One of us would navigate the cross-hairs over the enemy spaceships and the other would fire. A simple task that certainly didn't require two people, but the game was so much more fun when we did it together.

Sometimes, when my son and I are collaboratively trying to beat the computer on a game (most recently the Lego Star Wars game on our Wii), I think back to the joy brought by the memory of this simple time spent with my father.

And I'm thankful for every moment I spent with my father; and every moment I spend with my son.


Zephyr said...

Beautiful memories of your father. And Alex is a lucky son. :)

Anonymous said...

A mutual friend sent me your blog as I am celebrating my Dad's anniversary too. Your words are so much like I feel as well and I am so with you. I posted a story a day about my dad from when he got sick to the end. Not as sudden as yours, mine suffered for 7 weeks and I was responsible for the decisions. Always wonder if I made him suffer needlessly, we had so much hope. Blessings to you.

I hope to blog or record my Dad's stories soon. Iposted to Facebvook.

Mark Leslie said...

Thanks, Christel.

And Lorna, hope you're able to honour your dad by posting the stories about him.