February 26, 2012

In Loving Memory of Dad

Richard J. Kelly (September 1, 1944 - February 26, 2011)

Today marks a year since my dad died. He has been with me every day in my thoughts and at least once a week I have dreamed about him.

I am not sure if it is because he keeps visiting me at night or if it's because I have not let him go. It's been the biggest surprise of my life that I keep seeing him in my dreams. I can't believe how much he stays in my thoughts.

I hope my dad knew how much I did love him, even though I only told him at the very end. That was a surprise too. I had a tough relationship with him for most of my life.

He came into my life in 1978, when I was all of seven. He was "Richard" then. He was seeing my mother and all of a sudden we moved in with him from Ottawa to a hamlet called Breckenridge, 15 km north of Aylmer, Quebec. Dad was a car salesman and he travelled most days of the week so I did not see much of him outside of the weekends, although he was around more in the summer.

It strikes me how much adults are merely slightly gown up version of the children they once were. We carry the luggage of our childhoods whether we know it or not. Since my dad died last year I have been struck by the smallest triggers that bring me back to those days in the late 70s and early 80s that defined the person I would become.

We have no idea what will come to define us. I had no idea how much dad influenced me and my heart all those years ago, and even later--when I would work so hard to define myself in opposition to him.  Dad's passing impacted me far greater than I thought it would.

I am happy that I got to spend his last days with him, and share the things that I wanted to say to him. I think I am blessed for that, and I have no regrets in that regard. But I would love to have another day to sit on the front porch with him in Aylmer, and just be together and talk about work, life in Toronto, and ask him about his business and trips up north.

I guess I miss those simple things more than I thought. He always took the time to ask me about how I was doing, and especially how my work was. Everytime I said goodbye to dad he always replied "Good luck". I wish I could hear him say that again.

He was a flawed person, as we are all. But he was my dad and I miss him terribly. If there is a god I hope he is taking care of my dad. I hope he is at peace.

Dad loved Johnny Cash. So, dad, here is a perfect song for you today: Johnny Cash singing a song by my favourite band, U2. I think dad would like this. Yes...I think so...

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