Dear Dad – It’s Almost Over Now

With my son and my father, November 2009

Dear Dad,

‘He was a gentleman lawyer, schooled with a grace and elegance that was common with earlier generations of lawyers.’

That quote came from a former assistant prosecutor who tried cases against you, when you were a defense lawyer.

Another of your legal colleagues said, ‘He was a fine prosecutor, a fine lawyer, and a fine gentleman.’

I think you would be moved, as I was, to read the quotations from your former colleagues in yesterday’s paper. Clive found the article for me on the Internet. If I told you how nice it was, you would no doubt give me one of your characteristic shrugs and a concise sentence about each person quoted in it.

It’s almost all over now, Dad. That is, the main events surrounding your death are almost finished. Your grandson wrote and delivered the eulogy which your wife and others told me was ‘brilliant’ and moving. I read it after the service, and it filled me with love and pride for both of you.

Today, sometime after the sun rises in New Jersey, your wife’s sister will take her to collect your ashes. Your wife told me the urn she selected is a box with a carved golf scene on it. Well, it’s true you were a great golfer, Dad.

Dad, the Aussies say, ‘He had a good innings’. You did. You had a long and active life. Maybe later I’ll write about some of the difficult times, but not tonight in Sydney. The funeral days are over. But I know from experience, now the new reality begins, without you physically here, in all the ways we kept in touch in person and long-distance all my life.

Dad, you and I both know all the well-meaning expressions, some of which I’ve used myself in writing about you these past few days. He’s in a better place. (I think you are.) He’s at peace now. (That, too.) He’s no longer suffering. (That’s the one I believe the most.) You had really valuable, special time with him in September and October. (Yes, I did have the gift of that time with you.) And, unlike Rob and Gary’s deaths, yours is more in the natural order of things, the death of a parent at age 85. (In comparison to the other deaths, yes, this is true.) He had a good innings. (Yes, you did.)

I don’t mean to sound, or be, ungrateful, Dad.  My son was seventeen when he lost his father.  Clive’s daughter-in-law was only twelve when she lost her mother.  I was so lucky to have you as long as I did.

But, the thing is, Dad, that for all people nowadays talk about a ‘celebration of life’ as opposed to ‘mourning a death,’ I mourn your death. You’re in my heart and always will be, but in this life, I will never see you alive again. Death is so desperately, totally, final. And I mourn yours.

Dad, thank you for everything and for being my father. I miss you.

10 Responses

  1. I know, Carolyn. The concept of celebrating a life is wonderful, but for a devoted daughter, it’s so hard to get past the dark. bottomless sense of loss. I didn’t feel like celebrating his life. I just wanted him to still be here. Hugs.

  2. Every few weeks I check your blog, to see how your life is going, and it has been relatively quiet of late. Tonight when I checked I completely seized up – there has been a lot happening, and I didn’t know.

    Please accept my sincere condolences about the passing of your father. Your writing has been very sensitive of the situation, and I only wish I could have been more actively supportive to you and GR. I’m glad you were able to come back to the US in October to be with your father, and can feel assured that you spent quality time when he knew you were there. You did all that you could.

    Both you and GR will be hearing more from me via email. Lots of love, Lamontski

  3. Another beautiful post Carolyn ..had me in tears .. but as you say your wonderful dad is no longer suffering, sending you prayers and hugs as you go through your tough times. xx

  4. Seasweetie, thanks so much. You totally ‘get it’. I’m sorry for your loss, too, and know we will both continue to miss our fathers.

    Mary, thank you too for all your sweet thoughts and support. I’ll be in touch more soon — you and your hubby have been a real treasure to all of us and everything is hugely appreciated.

    Anne, your prayers and hugs mean a lot — thanks for ‘being here’ and hope you’re well, wherever you may be at the moment 🙂

    Cheers all and thanks again.

  5. I haven’t visited for a while and I am so sorry to find out that your Dad has moved on. He was a very good looking man.
    As I am growing older, I thought life would become easier but I think it is actually getting harder.
    You are lucky to have Clive at your side going through
    this hard times.

  6. Carolyn,

    No matter how old or sick, it’s never easy. I found this to be so true with my parents; they both left a big hole, and I think of them every day.

  7. Hi Carolyn,

    I am feeling for you so much.
    In moments like these, we have to express ourselves and let all our feelings out. In whatever form they may be- written,oral,or artistic.
    You have done so well honoring your Dad.

    I can only send my sympathy and love, because I cannot physically be present. I wish that I could hug you and give you strenght.

    (((((((((((((((( Carolyn & Clive)))))))))))))

    I am with you and your family in spirit and prayer.

  8. Nadege, glad to ‘see’ you again and thanks for your kind thoughts and comments. It does seem the passing years bring their share of sorrow as well as joy. I guess this is part of the cycle of life. I am definitely lucky to have Clive by my side 🙂

    Martha, your words mean a lot, especially since your mother also had a long life. Thank you for your understanding.

    Barbara, I so appreciate your hugs and prayers – thank you! I know you also understand. See you again soon I hope.

    Take care all.

  9. I was compelled to go and read all the posts about your dad you have posted here — so powerful, and I definitely do *not* have dry eyes right now. Your writing about this all gripped me, and I am so glad you posted honestly and truthfully about all these things. Not only do I have a picture of your father and the person he was, but I know your heart and mind better now, too, and to feel the feelings right with you as I read them here, to read these honest things about life and death, is so moving.

    Thank you, thank you.

  10. Karin, thanks so much for your comment. I appreciate your kind thoughts and your empathy in ‘feel the feelings right with you’ — life and death are indeed moving subjects for all of us.

    Take care and thanks again – and hope to see you soon!

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