Sunday, December 30, 2007

Gone, But Never Forgotten

We live all of our life to pass away. Yesterday morning (Saturday, December 29th) at 5:30am, my father passed from this plane to the next. Later that evening, 6:30pm, my brother in law passed. It’s been a rough 2007.

My father was my hero. My father was a constant inspiration to my siblings and me. My father was my first boyfriend. We went on dates, we fought, we made up, and we always loved each other. My father helped carry me along on the days when it seemed to hard to do it myself. And I knew when I grew up I'd marry a man just like my dad.

When I was five my father played hooky one afternoon from work and took me to the racetrack. It was my first time, the first of many, and I remember it as clearly as if it happened yesterday.

We were seated up in stands, my father was intent on the track, race form in hand, his tie loosened at the collar. I was being swept away in the fervor as each race began and ended. Until one race found me standing up, jumping as high as five-year-old legs can, screaming, “Go Joe, go!” My father leaned over and asked me which horse I was rooting for? I pointed out the horse of my fancy and my dad happily said that was his horse too, and continued rooting with me. For the rest of that afternoon he helped me chose horses to pin my hopes on.

Later years would find us sharing interest in Indy and formula one racing. A tall man my father worked in the pits for my Aunt Dot, a childless woman my father worked with, and who owned midget racers in Southern California. Usually my father would work the pits, my sister or brother and I huddled under blankets in the bleachers, hands wrapped around steaming cups of hot chocolate as my father worked on the cars. Several times my father would sit in the cockpit of a car and race himself. I’m sure it was just for the thrill, but it was a passion he shared with us kids.

Another was fishing. My father hated fish, but loved to be out on the sea in a boat he built with his own hands from blue prints tacked on the garage wall. As I was growing up there was always a boat in some stage of construction, either in the garage or on blocks in the yard waiting its turn in the water. Later that passion turned to planes and flying, and the laughter that would be evoked when my father would relate a crash in his ultralight, saved by the fate of landing upside down in the Rhododendrons that line the Florence Municipal Airport. Yes, crashes, plural.

My father was an adventurer, he gave that passion for adventure and travel to his children, and with any luck we have passed his lessons and passions on to our children. My father was a storyteller, with a silver tongue and a gift of gab. My father was far from a saint, but he was honest, forthright, and plain. My father has now gone to a much gentler place, free from pain, where he can breathe deep and walk unimpeded.

I will miss you so very much, but you will ever live in my heart, in my memory, in the smiles of my daughter and nephews, and their children. You will ever walk in my dreams, whisper to me in the wind, and hold my hand in the dark of night. I will never let you go and I pray I will never let you down.

Dad, I love you

Later that night Ducky’s younger brother died after his nine-month battle with lung cancer. It didn’t come as a surprise, but it, like my dad’s passing creates a loss and an ache that will be a long time in easing.

Gwynn was a gentle man with a massive heart and a love for his partner, his children, and grand children. He fought for each extra day of his life after the doctor’s told him his cancer was incurable. He spent time with his siblings, his children, and his grandchildren building memories to take them through the rest of their lives.

He had two wishes for the end of his life. First to make it through Christmas, and second he wanted a white Christmas. On Christmas morning Ducky called Gwynn to wish him a merry Christmas, as they discussed health, the holidays, and life in general. During the call Gwynn suddenly stopped and after a moment pause said in wonder, “It’s snowing.” That was the last conversation Gwynn and Ducky shared.

Yesterday morning Gwynn suffered a major heart attack in the hospuital. Last night after the family drove from various parts of Oregon and Washington to gathered at the hospital, the nurses removed Gwynn’s life support. Forty-five minutes later he was gone.

Our tears flow like our memories. But unlike our memories the tears will dry, our wounds will toughen, and our pain will ease. But they shall ever live in our memories and our hearts.



JulieAnn Henneman said...

Oh Cele,

My deepest sympathies, my friend. I am so sorry for your loss, and I pray you and yours will have peace.
You know where to find me if you want to talk.
Love you

Phoenix Touch said...

Dear Cele,

I am so touched by this beautiful post. I have tears streaming down my face. I cannot imagine what you must be feeling right now, saying a permanent goodbye to two very loved men. I feel sad for your loss and am sending peace and love your way. May it find you and hold you close.

With love,

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Dearest friend, Cele:

Our thoughts and sympathies are with you, Ducky and your families as you mourn the passing, but celebrate the lives, of your father and brother-in-law.

Janet and Brenda

Cele said...

You guys are extremely wonderful, thank you for your well wishes, your prayers and your kind thoughts and support. Thank you. It takes friends to make the world go around and my world is full of wonderful friends.

JA I know you've been here before thank you for the offer of talk.

Angie, girl you have been through so much, thank you for the support, the tears, the friendship.

JM thank you for the gift of yourself, you and Bea offer so much to this world and your friends are better for knowing you and being touched by you.

Thank you my friends

An Enlightened Fairy said...

I am so very sorry for the loss of your father and your brother in law.
My heart aches for you, I know you miss them and I wish you the very best for 2008.
Sending love, positive energy and light your way.
I love you, my friend.

Cele said...

Faery, thank you. BTW have fun in Portland this weekend, I would have tried to make it (I would have been late, but we could have done dinner or something,) but well, wow, I have a funeral to attend.