Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year's Day

New Year's Day can be thought of as blah. Ours this year certainly was that way with the weather of downpours and low hanging clouds that turned to snow and blizzard conditions by night fall. Cold or wet or both, there is not much to New Year's Day, so it seems.
New laws take effect. I remember the big deal in 1970 when cigarette ads were banned from TV. No more "I'd rather fight than switch," or the Marlboro Man. The Marlboro commercials showed beautiful landscapes. No editorial comment here, just the absence stood out.
One year, my brother, on a date with a girl not his future wife, Sandy Cone, got the old tan Ford stuck in Valley Mould, west of the town, near the Shenango River. Dad answered the call in what seemed like the middle of the night. Dan was none too happy that his date ended that way.
Sandy called sometime during the afternoon, which was a dark one. Dad answered the phone,"No, he doesn't want to talk to you, Sandy. He's not even talking to his sisters."
Even as a child, I knew you'd talk to a date before your siblings, but Dad was mad and not waking his son up for any girl who would get stuck in the mud in a car.
Most of these holidays saw us watching TV, football, what else? A fire roaring in the living room fireplace. Sometimes people visited us or sometimes we finished up our visiting. One time, I remember going to the Eastwood Mall, after blue laws faded.
I never appreciated the holiness of this day, until I was older. This was the last holiday I spent with my dad. He had had such a good Christmas at our house a week earlier, with Katie Beth as a baby. We hadn't gotten a dishwasher, yet, so Mom and I washed all the dishes. By New Year's Day, we did have the big meal, but Dad couldn't hold squirming Katie or enjoy an older, more sedate Megan on his lap with the fire in his bones. I watched the pain in his eyes because he loved his grandchildren.
By January 3rd, we were back at Cleveland Clinic because the pain returned with a fury. He entered and never returned home. So February made me shiver.
Many years, I struggled with depression with this month as each day I thought of Dad's last days. The anniversary looming on February's horizon. I put one foot on the floor every morning and tried to find joy. The hope of the resurrection comforted me plus having a small daughter. As a nurse told me on the oncology floor before Dad died, "A baby is God's way of saying the world must go on."
A time has passed since I have felt that crippling sorrow of losing my dad, I felt too soon. I miss him in snatches now. Yes, writing this has made me cry, but I know I can get up tomorrow. He is just in another place with my mother.

I have the blessed hope that we will all be joined again someday in heaven. I hope to bring a part of him back with my writing, where my tears aren't visible.
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