Friday, May 13, 2011

The Long Goodbye.

Years before my Father died I had already begun to say goodbye. The day after James and I became engaged to be married, Dad, went into hospital for what was supposed to be a short stay for an operation to prepare him to once again begin kidney dialysis. Over four months later he came home. During his stay in hospital he was in intensive care for several days, and wasn't expected to live. He lost over 20 kilos, as a virus which the doctors could not control took hold of his body. When he eventually came home he looked like a World War II prisoner of war survivor! We knew then that every day was a gift. In my heart I knew that he would not be with us for a long time. So in a way, I had begun to say goodbye two years before he died of an aneurysm, four months before the birth of my first child.

Since that day there have been many little opportunities to say farewell. Such as when Mum sold Dad's beloved Scandalli piano accordion, or when the house in which he lost consciousness was sold, and even when I fed my son sourdough muffins Dad had made which I had frozen! These were days to remember, cry, laugh, and to whisper"goodbye" as the invisible threads were cut to the man I called Dad.

Today was one such day. Today Mum sold the building in which she and my father built a successful small business, Proudies Hot Bread. It was a rather emotional day for Mum and I, as so much of our lives have been connected to that place, and to the memories created within its walls.

After the hammer had fallen at the auction memories were shared about the 15 years she and my father were in business. Such as how one day Mum had received a call from my father in which he asked her to add up all the money they could get hold of, and to include what they might get for the tent under the house! He had been approached by the owner of Wally Gate's Supermarket, who was retiring and thought that perhaps my parents would be interesting in purchasing the building. They sold their house and the tent, and we lived in the little flat above the shop for a year before they were in a position to buy another house. During that year I can remember waking during the night to the sounds of clunking bread tins, machinery, and laughter!

The building became a backdrop to my childhood and early adulthood. I went to primary school in the same suburb, played with the neighbourhood children, and had my first job slicing endless loaves of bread! After my parents sold the business, I worked there for a year before beginning university.

Parents teach their children many things. One of the best things my father taught me was the value of living a considered life. He wasn't the type of sit back and just let life happen to him. Rather he decided what he wanted form life and put a plan into action to make it happen.

My dad knew about passion! His first love was bread making. There was nothing about bread he didn't know! He could talk about bread for HOURS! He was one of those blessed souls who loved getting up in the morning, or in his case the middle of the night, to go to work. For him it wasn't work. He would often say he was going to play!

Thirteen years after his death I still miss him terribly! But I see him in my eldest son who has the same body shape and seems to be developing the same wacky sense of humour. I often hear his voice when I open my mouth, like the time a few weeks ago when I couldn't resist annoying Bilby, who was not amused! "You're annoying. " he calmly said to which I replied, "Yeah, it's good isn't it!" before I stopped in my tracks as this was the exact thing Dad would say to me after an unsuccessful attempt to be funny!

Today was a day to say goodbye to the last physical *thing* that connected me to my father. It was a day to celebrate and to reminisce. It was also a day of hope. Hope that the faith we have in Christ will mean that we will meet again!


Suzanne said...

There is one other thing that lives on that your Dad created; the sourdough starter.
That was a lovely peice Tricia. I shed a tear or two, but laughed as well, which is what he would have wanted.
I wish he could have known (or maybe he does), what an immense impact his life has had on other people, especially those who loved him well. Life goes on and so does love.

Sue Elvis said...

I can see how much you love your dad, Tricia. You might have said you last physical goodbye, but I bet your dad keeps appearing in your life in ways that you might not expect. I find this with Thomas. I am quite surprised how much a part of our lives he is and he died 11 1/2 years ago. Our loved ones live on even when they are not physically here.