Sunday, June 16, 2013

Remembering Pa...and Father's Day

      This is the fifth Father's Day celebrated, without being able to send a card to the Dad who so influenced my life. Peter DeVries: big tough Dutch farmer, brilliant tractor mechanic, and a quiet man who rarely spoke in public...but talked his head off to his children and grandchildren. ("Why speak up and prove that I'm a dumb Hollander?" he used to say, eyes twinkling.)

My dad chose to love me. I was two when he met the Mama. He was the one who insisted he adopt me. He never wavered in that love...and honestly, I never wavered in mine.

Father's Day can be a little difficult around here. 

Long before I lost Dad to multiple melanoma cancer, the Brick lost his dad.

     Dave (The Brick)  was in the Navy, and headed to meet his parents in Missouri...they'd just moved there from North Carolina, mostly because Clyde, his dad, was insisting they needed to. Right away.
     Dave was getting there on a motorcycle, and called just before he hit town. His mom couldn't speak. Clyde, whom Dave had just started to mend fences with after four tumultuous high school years, was sitting on his brother's lawn, iced tea in hand...and had a fatal heart attack.
     Dave was 19. He had to make the rest of that trip, knowing that his dad was dead.

I lost Dad while on a teaching gig at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show in Virginia. I was judging the morning he died...and the Mancusos refused to interrupt the judging process, even for a dying man. By the time I called at lunchtime, he had been gone for a few hours.
     I taught the next three days and had to make the rest of the trip to Michigan, knowing that my dad was dead.

     Dave, my darling Brick, has been a good husband and wonderful father. He loves his girlies more than anything. (They'll be here tomorrow -- Daughter #2 had to work today.) And in that sense, we still celebrate.

But we both have something else on Father's Day: that dull ache, that sense of missing someone who was so dear to us. I met the Brick years after his dad's death, so never was able to meet him. I will someday. As I will see my dear Pa again.

Happy Father's Day, Clyde -- can't wait to meet you. I've seen you so often through your son's eyes. 

Happy Father's Day, Dad -- your daughter loves you very much, and thinks so often of you.

See you soon.

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