Friday, June 13, 2014

My Father's Chair

 
    The soft padded chair envelopes me in memories of my father, the leather worn where his arms once rested. I run my fingers over the smooth patches to get a sense of him, breath deep the scent of leather and success. From this chair he managed a real estate and banking business, arranged our summer vacations to the Southwest and designed his dream home in Montana.

     My father's legacy is now tucked away in the cardboard boxes that surround me, his voice a distant echo against these bare walls.

      Packing up his office, I come across a grainy, black and white photo that sparks memories of a father who carried me on his shoulders in the pool, made me laugh with his Cookie Monster imitations and when I was older, shared his quiet wisdom with me on a porch in Whitehall, Montana.

     The world will remember him as a successful entrepreneur who was larger than life; an intense man of intellect, integrity and power with a lifelong pursuit of excellence. To me, he was just Dad----the man who was my shelter in a world of uncertainties. No matter my age, I was still his little girl.

     At times he was imposing and strict, reprimanding me when I tested the limits of his patience. Like any teen, I resented his advice until I had children of my own and understood that the boundaries he set were rooted in love.

     There was also a softer side to my father that few people knew. He could be moved to tears when listening to a Wagner opera or the complexities of a Mahler symphony. His eyes misted over whenever he expressed his love and gratitude for my mother. And he hugged us tightly, as if he never meant to let go. When I close my eyes, I can still feel his arms around my shoulders and the soft fabric of his shirt against my cheek.

     When my father was first diagnosed with blood cancer, there was no doubt in my mind that this powerful man would beat the disease. We'd spent an entire summer together tracing his ancestral roots and discovered that longevity was in his family genes.

     He fought the good fight with chemotherapy but the insidious cancer robbed him of all the simple joys in life. The gourmet food and wine he once loved tasted like cardboard as he battled daily against nausea and fatigue. It was difficult watching a man who was once active in sports and a strong force in the boardroom become fragile and confused. I couldn't accept defeat, even as the soft angles of his face were sharpened by rapid weight loss from the disease.                                                                                                

     I realized cancer was winning the day I embraced him and felt the knotted rope of his spine against my fingertips. He no longer had the strength to hug me back.

     My father spent his last days in Hospice with his family surrounding him. I remember how his eyes lit up when we walked into the room and his feeble attempt to squeeze my hand when I sat beside him on the bed. Choking back tears, I spoon fed him his dinner and reminisced about happier times. Looking back, I should have played Wagner or Mahler to soothe him, but I like to think the music was still there, playing in his dreams and lulling him to sleep.

     We lost him two weeks before Father's Day. And just as I did when I was a child, I pressed my face against his chest and heard the last beat of his heart.

     My father has always been my idol and the inspiration that drives me to succeed. He saw the potential in the humorous stories I wrote and encouraged me to become the writer I am today. He believed in me when I was unable to believe in myself, pushing me to heights unimaginable.

     I miss his humor and the deep chuckle that resonated in his voice when he regaled us with tales from his youth. I miss our road trips, family holidays and the laughter we shared over a good bottle of wine. But most of all, I miss his strong embrace.

     I feel him now in the threads of Mahler's music and the stories I write from the comfort of his brown leather chair. When I look to the west, I see his smile beyond the darkness, a shooting star that leaves a bright tail across the summer night.



****Want more Meno Mama? You can find me this week on Midlife Boulevard talking about how menopause drives me crazy! http://midlifeboulevard.com/menopause-make-crazy
I'm also featured this week on What The Flicka, talking about bad Father's Day gifts: http://whattheflicka.com/10-things-get-fathers-day

       

80 comments:

  1. I love this Marcia. I feel like I almost knew him from your description. I'm sure he is looking down and smiling on you right now. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Sarah, I sure hope he is!

      Delete
  2. Marcia, this is incredible. I know you're always writing funnies, but I love you best when it's from the heart. Your father was a very handsome man (you look like him, but in a girly way). I can see why you loved him so and he obviously helped shape you into the loving mom and sweetheart you are today. Beautifuly written.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you---this means more to me than I can say <3

      Delete
  3. What a beautiful tribute to your father. You were lucky to have him, and he was lucky to have you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was a very special man. Thank you, Lana.

      Delete
  4. I am very sorry for your loss. Marcia!
    I love that you wrote this sitting in his chair, soaking up his spirit. And as I have told you before, I prefer your "sad posts" to the funny ones. Maybe there is something wrong with me, I just feel you coming across very authentic in those. Take care!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you like these post, Tamara. They're very hard for me to write---I honesty prefer humor because these types of posts hurt too much to write and just take too much out of me emotionally. But when I feel something tugging at my heart, I know it's time to write about it.

      Delete
    2. I get you! Even so!
      There's some things we do - not because they are easy, but because they are hard. My old buddy JFK said that.

      Delete
  5. So moving, genuine, a tribute only you could write. Somewhere your dad is bustin' his buttons with pride.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Marcia! Thank you for sharing your precious father with us. How wonderful that you have a little piece of him in his chair. I hope you get to keep it? You were given such a gift in him, a strong man who loved his family. We need more like him in our world.
    And what a handsome man too! I see where you got your good looks my friend. (But your smile is all your mom, I think.) I hope this weekend will see you shedding tears of pure joy at the memory of the gift you have in his memory. Maybe you missed playing that music for him, but you can play it this weekend. You can both enjoy it together.
    Hugs,
    Ceil

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love this Marcia! It is raw emotion expressed beautifully. I miss my dad as well. I think that by the look in his eyes in these photos it would be safe to say he was a proud man. Proud of himself, his children, and his legacy. And it is very obvious how proud you are of him. Hold on to those memories... And that chair. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Gorgeous piece and a lovely bunch of memories to keep him alive in your heart!

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a beautiful tribute to your dad. Such a lovely photo of the both of you. Continue to cherish those memories. They keep our loved ones who have passed on so much closer to our heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I miss him every day and hold him close in my heart.

      Delete
  11. Absolutely beautiful, Marcia. Had to wait till I could see through the tears to be able to write. What a wonderful, beautiful man! Stalwart, inspiring, dependable and loving. All the best qualities of 'Dad'. Thank you for sharing him with us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awwwww….thank, Diane. I appreciate the kind words <3

      Delete
  12. What a beautiful tribute to your father. How special that you have his chair to hug you each and every day. I lost my father when I was 26 years old. I felt like someone had torn my heart out and stomped on it. Over the past 34 years I have filled the sadness with all the great memories, but there is not a day that goes by without me thinking about him. Now, it makes me smile every time. Thanks for sharing your beautiful relationship with your father - I loved reading every word.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Ellen, you were so young when you lost your father! I can't even imagine how difficult that must have been. Thank you for these beautiful, encouraging words. Hugs! XO

      Delete
  13. A fine, moving tribute to a special man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Bryan. He really was special and we miss him terribly.

      Delete
  14. Here by way of Lizzi the Considerer. Wonderful tribute.
    (My paternal grandfather died to prostate cancer and I do love the power of a good chair.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't Lizzi wonderful? Thanks for stoping by to have a read. So sorry to hear of your loss, too.

      Delete
  15. What a poignant, heartfelt tribute to a man who helped shape and encourage you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Karen. He was the family matriarch and I don't think our family has ever been quite the same since he left us.

      Delete
  16. That was absolutely beautiful. A wonderful tribute to what sounds like a wonderful man.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Beautiful tribute to a wonderful man! My best memories are when the Bell Choir would play in church or the Cherub Choir would sing and all I would have to do is look to his pew and he would reward me with a thumbs up of a job well done...afterwards of course I always got a big hug! Then when we visited him in Big Sky, Montana and he was so proud of his home...he treated us to a wonderful dinner....good memories, I was glad I had the honor of knowing him! Julie xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He adored you guys, Julie! he loved the church and he especially loves his Montana home. I'm so glad you got to know him! XO

      Delete
  18. This post made me think of my dad who I adore and do not know how I will be when the time comes that I lose him, this was a wonderful tribute to your dad

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jo-Anne. Give your dad an extra big hug today for me.

      Delete
  19. Great Father~ wonderful insight~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sangay. And thanks so much for stopping by.

      Delete
  20. Marcia, I always enjoyed when I was at your house with Randy and Mr. Kester would come into the room the back yard or wherever, He would always treat me like I was part of your family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awwwww…thank you for sharing the memory with me! <3

      Delete
  21. This is such a touching and loving post Marcia, I loved all of it... so beautiful... I even welled up but with a smile. We do learn later how our parents knew much more than we thought they knew and they were only trying to protect us.. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't that the truth? I think I could have saved myself a lot of heartache when I was young if only I had listened to them…..

      Delete
  22. This is Really Nice Post, Thanks for Sharing with us, Keep up it.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Oh Marcia, this is incredibly moving and touching! I lost my dad last year around this time too and like your father, he too had cancer. There is a song called Dancing in the Sky by these two sisters, Dani and Lizzie. If you haven't heard it I urge you to look it up but I warn you now....have your tissues ready!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So sorry to hear of your loss. too. I don't think I've heard the song but now I will look for it….with tissues in hand.

      Delete
  24. sweeeet!!!
    do you follow each other?
    let me know!
    http://defishencia.blogspot.ru/

    ReplyDelete
  25. Your dad sounds like an awesome guy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was one of a kind and I miss him terribly.

      Delete
  26. Such a sweet & loving tribute... very nice, Slu

    ReplyDelete
  27. Such a beautiful post and a wonderful tribute to your dad. He sounds like he was very special!! And hurrah for anyone who can do a great Cookie Monster impression!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was such a funny man----I like trying to keep the humor alive in his name.

      Delete
  28. A lovely tribute to your father!

    ReplyDelete
  29. That was awesome Marcia.
    Your father was a distinguished gentleman, a real man of honor.
    You could even say he was in a league of his own.
    He was a very successful entrepreneur.
    In fact, your father defined Success.

    I was fortunate to have met your father.
    He was truly one of the greatest people in the world.
    The world needs more people like your father.
    Over the years I met the President of the U.S., several U.S. Senators, Representatives, Several Governors, numerous State Senators.
    Yet, not one of them compares to your father.
    Where have all the Heroes gone?

    He was a great role model and an inspiration to us all.
    Everyone who has met him knows how great and special he was.
    As accomplished as he was, he never belittled anyone.

    I've always admired your father and your family.
    The painting on your (parents) living room wall spoke volumes of a great and magnificent family.
    You were always his pride and joy.

    I remember how ecstatic you were when you shared some of his accomplishments like those noted in Who's Who. Your face would light up. You were the proud daughter.
    You were blessed to have such a great and wonderful father.
    I'm sorry for your loss and the pain you feel, but his legacy lives on through your writings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is incredibly kind of you to say, Marciano. You DO remember him well and I appreciate your thoughts and words. WOW---you remember the big painting?? I loved that. He was a very special man and I am honored that you still remember him so well. Thank you again for your kind thoughts and words! XO

      Delete
  30. This was so bitter-sweet and had me in tears! My father has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness and, as we were never close when I was a child, I now feel even more frantic to establish a solid relationship with him in the time we have left. It was heartbreaking, but wonderful to read about your relationship and memories of your dad!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jana----promise me you will draw closer to your father in these final days---I URGE you to make amends or whatever you need to do to get closer---sounds like he needs you but may no say it or show it. BE THERE for him no matter what! <3 NO REGRETS!!!!

      Delete
  31. Lovely story Marcia no matter how long ago, those ofbus who have lost their fathers still grive every Father's Day for our losses.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true, Rena, I will ALWAYS miss my dad. Thanks for stopping by <3

      Delete
  32. Wow meno mama! I am truly speechless and greatly moved by such a wonder tribute, to what seemed like a remarkable man. You have me in tears here. An emotional and moving post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lily. I appreciate the love <3

      Delete
  33. I read your piece and thought about my grandfather who similarly battled cancer and lost. He was also a larger than life man and I can never quite get over his loss (it's been about 15 years now).
    Hugs to you, Marcia! This is such a beautiful piece!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Roshni, and sorry to hear about your grandfather. Hugs XO

      Delete
  34. I am so sorry for the loss of your father. I don't think we ever completely get over the loss of our dad. Such a hard thing! (((hugs)))

    ReplyDelete
  35. You know, your father in his later years looked a bit like your husband does today...I guess that means you found a man just like dear ol' dad ;)

    And the wedding pic of your parents is *lovely* - you and your mom could never deny each other!!! I see where you now the goth the Adorable Gene :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL I'll tell her you said so, Nicole--she'll love that! :)

      Delete
  36. This definitely got me chocked up Marcia. I miss my father and step father tremendous...losing the latter last Fall. Thank you so very much for sharing this with all of us as it was absolutely beautiful. I love how you were there with your Dad every step of the way in his battle. And I love the beginning of describing his office chair and the plans. Big lump in my throat, our friend. Bless you all of our love to your family :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, Mike. I'm sorry to hear of your loss as well. Sending hugs and prayers your way XO

      Delete
  37. How wonderful that you have his chair with all the creases and worn spots to remind you of your dear Dad. I can see a resemblance in the younger photo of your father. Maybe it's the warm smile or the bright twinkling eyes. No matter you will carry his spirit in your heart for the rest of your days.
    Gentle hugs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, Barbara!

      Delete

Shareaholic

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...