My Dad passed away peacefully on August 18th, at the age of 87. He was just so very tired and needed to rest. Surrounded by his family, I know he felt our love and our presence, both physically and spiritually. I miss him so much.
My Dad immigrated to Canada in 1951 with my Mom and my older brother and sister. A huge under-taking, he wanted a better life for his family, to start fresh in the "land of plenty". They endured many hardships, it wasn't easy to leave family and friends and create a whole new existence. He loved to tell about the time he walked twenty miles to apply for a job after arriving in Canada. He was hired, even though there wasn't really a position. The foreman thought he was very persistent and deserved a chance.
My Dad taught me so very much, things that I sometimes take for granted. He instilled in me his love of music, nature, books. He taught me to work with my hands. To create things from simple materials. To never waste anything, as we were "priviliged to live such a good life".
I can still smell the fresh-cut sawdust and apples baking over the wood-stove, as we built doll furniture together in his workshop when I was a child. Later in life, the wonderful blackberry wine that we created from fresh-picked berries, fragrant and sweet. Sockeye salmon, home-smoked, with just a hint of bay leaf. The thick, golden honey from his bee-hives.
I'll never forget these things.
And he loved his family. Especially all of the little ones that gave him so much joy. He would hold them in his arms and just stare down into their faces, in total awe of their innocence and sweetness.
I will always keep that picture in my mind.
And my Dad was a brave man.
He fought courageously with the Danish Resistance Movement during World War II. He never spoke of it until recently, but it must have left many scars, all of the horrible things he experienced, the suffering he saw. He hid those scars well.
My Dad was my hero.
He could do anything and he could fix anything.
He made me feel safe.
I'll miss you so much, Dad.
Thank you for everything.
Until we meet again.....
"Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears,
but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you there."
-Isla Paschal Richardson