My Dad died in 1998. He was a special man and I loved him dearly. At the time of his death, he had just been in the hospital for bypass surgery and came through it well. He was sitting up in recovery, asking for a sandwich, and if you knew my dad, you would know that it was so typical of him. He loved to eat. He did so well that they told me to go home and get a change of clothes, eat, and then come back for visiting hours but when I walked in the door the phone was ringing and he was dead. He had a heart attack and from what I remember, his heart just exploded because the walls were very thin from a medication he had to take for myasthenia gravis. He looked so good when I left so this was totally shocking to hear. He had a military burial, WWII veteran, and we all tried to move forward with our grief. I always thought Dad was the soul of the family and it was so hard without him.
My dad had many things that I loved about him, one being that whenever I would visit we would go look through his top drawer where he had cards we kids had made him, little mementos, pictures, just stuff that he saved. We would look through the pictures and he would talk about the people in them and the old days. I loved those times together. When we kids had kids, he started adding their notes and things to the drawer so it was quite full and it would always take a bit of time to go through. When my son was old enough, he started showing him the things in the drawer and it became a special time for them too.
My Dad grew up in Newark, NJ and lived across the street from my mom. They didn’t have much to do with each other when they were young but after he came out of the service, there she was! He always told us that he picked her out of all the girls because she could peel an orange so well, and she could! He was an Italian American and she was of English/German descent. They married in 1947 and were married for 50 years when he died.
At the time of his death, he had a special Christmas Cactus that he had potted in a big old bowl, I guess it was for plants but he would have loved to see it filled with pasta. Anyway, I asked my mom if I could have it and brought it home. I sort of felt that it represented him and I hung it from a hook in a macramé planter that I had made, hoping that I could keep it alive. I was afraid to overwater it so was sparse with the attention I gave it, almost like I would jinx it if I did too much.
It’s now 2014 and that plant did not get flowers in all that time but this past Christmas, it did! Two flowers. I don’t know what made it bloom because I’ve been doing my usual with it, just watering it every two weeks or so, afraid that I might kill it. And now it’s February and it’s getting more flowers. I can’t figure it out but when I saw those flowers, I started to cry. I think it’s a sign from my Dad, anyway, I want to believe that it is. In any case, I’m going to see it as a sign to not give up, that things will get better, that my Dad still is there loving me, and that my life will bloom again.
I love you Dad.