I was asked to bring things to Dad’s Celebration of Life that he gave me over the years. Things that have a significant meaning to me, and perhaps, to him as well. While I do remember a few specific things, and brought a couple with me, the real special and significant things between Dad and me are not material.
What I share here is felt the same by my brother and sister. I don’t even need to ask them because I just know. They could maybe add a few more things that I have forgotten or what they experienced with Dad after they moved away. We were very close and appreciate pretty much the same things. I am writing here the things Dad gave to me.
It’s no secret that Dad and I had a rocky relationship, but that doesn’t undermine the love between this father and daughter. Love was the bond that kept us coming back. No matter what, we always found our way home to each other. Maybe it only lasted an hour before one of us got upset again. But we’d find our way back. I’d gladly take an hour right now.
Dad gave me the “love” of many things. My first remembrances of very good things were the holidays. Christmas, especially. Dad and Mom made Christmas magical for us and I carried the same magic into my home and to my children.
I believe that one of the best smells in all the world is of breakfast cooking over an open campfire. Eggs, bacon, and toast. Dad gave that to me. Camping is one of my most fondest of memories of our family time, along with our annual Minnesota trips (which included fishing) when we visited our grandparents.
Dad gave to me the love of music. Actually, I had no choice after being woken up to Tommy, Can You Hear Me?, Pinball Wizard, and Here Comes the Sun, blaring throughout the house, at 6:30 am every Saturday morning. But music was very important to him and I found that same fondness. He opened up our world to a variety of music. Dad and I share the love of Andrea Bocelli. Dad made a playlist for me and also sent the lyrics to many of his songs. I can’t bring myself to listen to that beautiful Italian voice yet. It will take time.
My father gave me the love and appreciation for Italy; the country, and its people, the music, pizza, gelato, the amazing breads, poppies, the festivals…just all of it. And I am forever grateful that he opened up that beautiful world to me.
Dad gave me the love of flea markets and antiques, of food, of the smell of horses and leather saddles, playing the guitar, day trips down old country roads, off-the-beaten-path diners, of motorcycles and fast cars…just so many loves continue to popup out of the hidden files buried deep within my mind.
The last several weeks have forced me into a place I don’t want to be. And I have been forced to reflect, to remember, and to deal with many underlying emotions that have been locked up and carried through the years. I realize that Dad has been the most influential person in my life, both positively and negatively. There were lessons I needed to learn about life, relationships, myself and even about him. Yet, he remains one of life’s greatest mysteries to me. And one of life’s greatest treasures.
Dad wanted me to be more independent. He had the foresight to know that I would need to be extra strong someday. I am a slow learner. I am fairly new to this whole independent thing at almost 60 years old. But throughout the years, I have gained strength through my many trials, and I know he was proud of me with every step I took in the right direction. Well, most of the time anyway.
There is so much I could share about my dad and me, but time isn’t conducive to that. Nor do you want to hear a lifetime of events, situations, and interactions between the two of us. When I was looking for memory items to bring, I thought of a gift that Dad bought for me when I married a second time. It was a sculpture of a man and woman embracing. It was an antique aqua color and very heavy. It reminded me of an anchor so I used it as a doorstop. When I had told Dad I was getting married he surprised me when he said he was coming. I questioned him, “You are really coming to my wedding?”
He said, “Yes. I go to all your weddings!”
I miss you, Dad. I miss your smart mouth (well, not so much), the embarrassing way you would eat your way through a grocery store (um…maybe not this either), how you constantly scared me with that stupid clown (definitely not this), and the loving way you took my hand whenever we were walking through a flea market or festival (yes!). So many things, Dad. You gave me so much more than material things. I learned from both the good and the bad in our relationship. Just know that I will forever be your Andrea, your Andrena, and your Georgia Peach. And that I love and miss you so very much. ♥️
Although material things can have special meanings, like those I posted here, many fade over time. But gifts of the heart and lessons learned are forever keepsakes. Treasure those gifts above the rest. ♥️