My dad died in July of 2004 at 79. I dreamed about him last night- I very rarely dream about him, but when I do, it’s always the same- he’s middle-aged and healthy. I probably dreamed about him because I did my Xmas cards last night, and sent one to Mom that made me think about Dad. It had a picture of a guy with tinsel on his head and Xmas lights up his nose.
Dad loved Xmas. He was a bit of a goofball anyway, but he was a big kid at Xmas. Every year, he went shopping without my mom and got us all little surprise gifts- they were always perfect. Like, when I adopted a stray cat when I was in law school- he got me a silly little book called “Latin for Cats”.
Several years before he died, Dad had a minor stroke. He recovered quickly, and went back to work. He had another one a few years later, and it hit him hard. It took him awhile to recover, and he retired. He used a walker from then on. He really wanted to help Mom out- she took care of his home and his kids for all those years, and now she was having to take care of him.
So his job was to go to the grocery store on the in-between trips- you know, the “we’re out of bread, and I forgot to get tea” trips. He could manage those with his walker. He enjoyed doing it, and it was a big help to Mom. He did move pretty slow, though. The Xmas after that stroke, I got him a sweatshirt with a big orange triangle on the back, with “SLOW MOVING VEHICLE” written underneath.
He loved it, and wore it not only to the store, but everywhere. Mom said it was like getting Linus’ blanket away from him to wash it. She drew the line at his wearing it to church. I made it home for Xmas 2004, the year he died. Mom gave me that sweatshirt as a gift that year.
I miss him every Xmas- in fact, every day, but more so at Xmas. It was his favorite time of year.
In November 2003, I had to have back surgery, and I couldn’t travel- Mom and Dad were 500 miles away (Mom still is). So I missed his last Xmas.