01 September 2006

Just Remember That I'll Always Love You

August was a rough month, one full of sorrow, as we faced the first anniversary of my father’s death and his birthday. But we made it through, and I think we’re finally on the other side of grief. I doubt that pain will ever go away, but at least I know I can now live with it.

On the very sad days, I remind myself that it hurts this much because I was deeply loved. Not many people were raised with the unconditional love he gave us, experienced the joy we gave him. I put that man through the ringer during my college years and twenties, and he never gave up on me. In fact, he left me brimming with self-confidence. And, thanks to him, I have yet to fall for a jerk.

OM’s birthday was Tuesday. Had he not passed away last August, he would have turned 72. The family would have gathered, possibly at a restaurant, but more likely at home, eating one of his favorite meals, showering him with shirts and books and the funniest cards we could find, laughing and teasing, telling the same silly stories, just being together. That was his idea of a celebration — surrounded by the wife and kids and grandkids he adored. Instead, those of us in town met for dinner at his favorite Mexican restaurant and toasted him with much-needed margaritas.

I wrote eulogy for him — telling you how he was a self-made man, how deeply in love he was with his family and Coca-Cola and University of Georgia football, how he lived to laugh and travel and read — but it was too painful to publish. So, what do I do when words fail me? I turn to music.

There’s a song in About a Boy — Badly Drawn Boy’s “A Minor Incident” — played during Toni Collette’s suicide attempt. It’s a heartbreaker, from a parent about to leave her child alone through her death. I listened to this song over and over during the final weeks of OM’s illness and after his death. It still tears me up, and it’s a rare day when I can listen to it and not cry. But the lyrics, the acoustic guitar, the sad harmonica are beautiful, so I’m sharing it here.

Upload music at Bolt

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At 9/01/2006 08:16:00 AM, Blogger Marni said...

He was the best...

Seeing the house behind him in the first photo made me gasp. I miss that place - the memories, granny, pawpaw, my uncles. I hate it that things have to change SO much.

Love the family picture. I don' think I have ever seen that one!

Love you, cus. Hang in there. You were loved so much! If we could all be that lucky...

At 9/01/2006 08:26:00 AM, Blogger nancy said...

Very nicely said, eulogy too hard to post or not, this was better. From the heart, full of love and pride. Thank you for sharing.

At 9/01/2006 09:30:00 AM, Blogger Old Lady said...

Very nice.

At 9/01/2006 09:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a fortunate girl. And you're oh so right--the pain you feel now is the trace of all the love you and he shared. This is a beautiful testimony to that love, as is everything you've written about him. But, if I may say so, the best testimony you can offer about your beloved father is to live exactly the life that makes you happy and fulfilled. Isn't that, after all, what he wanted for you?

At 9/01/2006 10:41:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

You've gotten the important things about life across in another heartfelt post Beth. I'm glad you're able to talk about it more as it helps not only you but others.

At 9/01/2006 11:36:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

MARNI: Yes, he was. And I thought you'd enjoy those photos.

NANCY: I know you understand what we went through, so I appreciate your kind thoughts.

OLD LADY: Thank you.

MY NAMELESS FRIEND: You know how I value your comments, so thank you. And thanks for the offline compliment.

DALE: Thank you. It really has helped blogging about it, and I've connected with others in this situation.

At 9/01/2006 12:43:00 PM, Blogger Ben Heller said...

I can't add any points to this beautiful post that your other blogging friends haven't already stated.
The one thing I do know, is that he's with you always, he's looking down and he's smiling because he's so damn proud of you and that his love will shine in your eyes and linger in your heart for eternity.

At 9/01/2006 01:57:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

Ben, that's so sweet and kind. Thank you very much.

At 9/01/2006 03:26:00 PM, Blogger barista brat said...

i thank you for sharing your love (and sorrow) with us. believe it or not, seeing how close and supportive your family is brings a smile to my face.

At 9/01/2006 04:14:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

Thank you, Brat. You've always had great comments and insights when I've talked about OM and my family. I'm lucky to have a great clan.

At 9/02/2006 10:05:00 PM, Blogger Mother of Invention said...

it must be hard to lose a parent or someone very close. My dad is still here and he is 87 and my mom is 85. We are very lucky. My husband's folks are both here too and 85.

Your dad just emanates sweetness from the pictures here.

So sorry.

At 9/02/2006 10:49:00 PM, Blogger Tenacious S said...

Beth, it has taken me awhile to be able to comment, as I found this post both touching and too familiar. I lost my mom almost two years ago to breast cancer. She was only 65 and was the center of our family. I feel like I am flailing out in space sometimes. I know I was loved too. Sorry for your loss. Even though we are adults, we are still their children and will always remain so.


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