Friday, December 05, 2008

Hands and Mourning Doves

My Dad would've celebrated his 80th birthday last week. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him. I've been feeling guilty because I can't remember the exact date of his birthday. I couldn't bring myself to ask Mom...it's something I should never forget. And I have. Hanging on to the too few memories and it hurts that even one little piece went missing. I was nine years old when Dad died from a heart attack at the age of 44.

Little things will trigger memories of him. Yesterday it was hearing the coos of a pair of mourning doves. I always think of Dad when I hear mourning doves. I'll imagine that it's his voice and he's reminding me that he's not too far away. Who knows? Maybe it is him. And maybe it's just the little girl inside needing to be comforted. She's never very far from the surface.

One of my most vivid memories of Dad is from church on Sunday mornings. Being the youngest of five, I think it was his job to keep me occupied and quiet during the Sunday morning sermons in our little Methodist church. I would sit in his lap and he would hold my hand in his big, tanned, calloused farmer hands. Ever so gently with his fingernail, he would push the cuticles back on each of my small fingernails. I can picture this so clearly. We always sat in the pews on the north side of church. Often the windows would be open. There were trees outside the windows and the mourning doves would be coo-coo-cooing outside. If all the other memories slowly disappear, this memory of touching hands and mourning dove songs will never be forgotten.

12 comments:

margie said...

i occasionally drop by to read your blog. today is the ninth anniversary of my husband's death. my youngest son was nine. it is the first time he will not be with me on this day, he attends a university on the east coast. i felt the sadness in his voice yesterday. it's ok not to remember your dad's birthday, remember him.

Heidi said...

Hi - thanks for stopping by my blog! Sorry about your dad, its days like this that can make life difficult, BUT remembering the doves is such a special thing.

Bill Stankus said...

My dad and I were not close but the memory I've chosen to remember were the times I tagged along with him when he was fishing on the river.

Patrick McNally said...

What a beautiful memory! My father died when I was 8, and I too feel sad when I forget one of the few pieces of him that I have left. I think that the positive flip-side of how long grief lasts, though, is that the important memories and feelings last too.

ArtSparker said...

Beautiful tribute, and what a wonderful thing to be remembered for.

RennyBA said...

I would say beautiful memories and a great contribution to your Dad. Of course its hard on a day like this and then its good to have something good to look back at.

Hope you and your family will have a good end to your week :-)

Riley said...

26 November

Jeanne said...

Oh, Balou....you can sure make me cry! Wish I had your talent to put IT ALL down in writing.
Love ya!

KFarmer said...

Birthday dates have ever been my weak spot. I don't even remember mine... Don't worry sweet. The memories are what's important. It's good that you have nice ones :)

Prunella Jones said...

Sorry about your dad but I'm glad you have such great memories of him. That's a real blessing.

lime said...

do you know where your dad is buried? the marker would have his birthdate on it. or maybe your mom has clippings from his obituary or other mementos. you could ask to see those things just because you'd like to see them as an adult....they might have the information too. just a thought. or even ask one of your older siblings.

but that clear memory of sunday mornings with him....yes, that is a treasure i know you'll always keep.

Balou said...

Thanks for all your nice words. His birthday was the 26th of November.