It’s Saturday. Which means I’m thinking of my dad today.
He died on a Saturday.
My sister nailed it when she compared it to a new born’s age. You count every day of their life. Here in the beginning stages of my dad’s passing, and our grieving, we count each day too. It’s been 12 days, It’s been 18 days. We have now entered the week stage. Five weeks. Thirty-five days.
I have a storage building sitting in the backyard of my mother’s house. It was the very first thing I bought, outside of a car. My uncle owned and ran a portable building shop and he sold me a building for $600. I, being very young, but needing a place to store my stuff when I moved back in with my mother, paid him $50 a month for a year until it was paid for. Interest free.
My dad asked to store some boxes there once. The building just sits. No one ever adds to or takes away.
Today something compelled me to go to the building. I opened the heavy door, cautious of waspers that sometimes fly about. I pulled the heavy door open, stepped inside, and the Texas panhandle wind blew it shut, leaving me in the dark. Outside, I saw a rake lying near and propped it open. Inside were boxes from my highschool years, old clothes, a box of carebears from my childhood, an old couch and chair, a desk, and several boxes belonging to my dad.
They were labeled in his handwriting: Important papers, Colored Bottles and Teapots, and of course Books.
I love his handwriting. But more than that, I love his writing. His actual writing. So often the people who knew him and speak of him, talk about his words. Just today at my garage sale, an old co-worker of his spoke of how he could write and use words so well. I know that his special friend Jane fell in love with him through his commentaries in the local newspaper before she ever even met him.
Being a “writer” myself, I was thrilled when I opened a box and found his stories from his stint at the newspaper, and then I found a journal. A small, light green spiral bound Mead notebook. On the cover is printed in his hand NOTES #1 Journal. The inside cover reads in cursive The Journals of Bob, and printed on the back cover is The Journals of Robert lee—soldier, statesman, Author. My mom always cautioned me about keeping a journal. Others will someday read your innermost thoughts and feelings. I’m anxious to read this journal, but I’m also excited. I’ll hear from him again. His words will live on.
I do believe my dad lived longer than he ever thought possible. In the Important Papers box, there was a manilla envelope filled with printed computer articles with titles such as “Brain Basics: Preventing Stroke”, “Guidelines for Management of Ischemic Attacks”, “Practice Guidelines for Acute Stroke” that my sister had mailed him in 1998.
And written in his hand on the outside of the envelope in a red pen are these words:
In these, my final years, I believe in Love.
I also believe in Kindness, Tenderness and Mercy.
I believe in The goodness of mankind.
I above all believe in family.
I must never let my life be ruled by drink or drugs. I must never let my happiness depend on the thoughts, whims or demands of another person.
I swear that I will never forget the goodness of Truth and honesty. I will always remember the harshness of life…And, I will always know its warmth.
I have known its Love.
55 years, and holdin’
2 or 3 strokes
Each Saturday after today, I’m going to share a story from my dad.
Until I run out of stories.
Or Saturdays, whichever comes first.
I think it is awesome you have his handwriting. At the moment that is what I had my loved ones do is write about their childhood, childhood stories. Anything they wanted to tell me when they were little. That way when they move on to the world we know as heaven then I would have their handwriting and I could pass it down generations. As that way I would have a memory and a written passage from them. I have a tape that has my poppa’s voice on it and it was made in 1982, and my poppa died in 1997. So one day I will have it put on a cd. I guess you are right when I am ready 🙂
i never know my dad that well, though he’s still here. i never know his handwriting or stories either. i’m not that close to my dad. reading your story, for me, i can’t remember and love my dad as you do.
angel, oh angel, i cant even describe the feeling, just seeing his handwriting, i know this must have been hard for you, but at the same time, its like he has more to tell us. sweetie, i am so glad you found this! it was just beautiful..love you much Auntie L
Angel, I’v been missing Bob all week, I can’t describe the pain I feel inside from losing him. I know your pain must be so much more than mine. because he was such a good Dad, and he loved more than most men are capable of.. He loved everyone. and now he’s in the arms of Jesus. so remember him as he was, he was a good writer, so good with words and describing the beauty of nature. love you so much Aunt Velta
What an awesome treasure to find! Can’t wait to hear more!
Oh Angel, this brought tears to my eyes. This “new reality” of not having him on earth is a struggle for me. Of course I have good days and sad days but I find myself concentrating more…not on his death but on his life …and that has to be progress. Seeing his handwriting and reading his notes and cards brings me such comfort. Several times I’ve felt like he’s talking to me in the present not 10 or 20 years ago when he wrote them. I’m so thankful we had him for all these years, we were blessed to call him dad.
What a treasure you have found, Angel! I get teary-eyed just looking at my Mom’s recipe cards and little notes she sent me over the years, I can’t fathom what it would be like to find his journals and words of wisdom…just an awesome gift from heaven, I would say. I will anxiously await each post on Saturday (or any other day you feel compelled) to share his words. Jolea is right ,,,you are blessed to call him dad! Bless you all —Until next time, Donna
Beautifyl Who knew what a treasure you would find in your storage building when he put those boxes in it. Wonderful love and memories.
You who comment to me, make me feel such love. I am moved. Thank you for your comments. They mean so much, and so do you.
love it, love it, love it! that’s the greatest gift he could have left you. part of himself. worth more than money for sure.
What a bittersweet read to add to my Sunday. Well into ‘years’ with tracking the ‘age’ of my Dad’s death, I feel the raw emotion you and your family are experiencing.
What a blessing to open the storage building, initially filled with darkness, and find such light. Seeing your Dad’s words. Reading your Dad’s words. I look forward to future Saturdays.
What a beautiful note to have in your dad’s handwriting. He had a lot of insight that the rest of us can greatly benefit from! I look forward to reading more of his writings!! Thanks for sharing:)
Well, I guess Bob really left a mark!
You brought tears to my eyes.