Following the path to the cabin
Dad died suddenly while walking alone down the path to his beloved cabin. When I heard where and how he had passed I felt a profound sense of him having come home.
My father had spent the last 30 years of his life with his new family. While the desire was there to maintain ties to both of his families, it was a goal that ultimately proved elusive. By the time he passed away he was another family’s father, grandfather, husband – time and distance had taken its toll. During his memorial service, held at the cabin, I did not speak or offer any remembrances. I felt like a distant uncle had passed away.
For my entire adult life outside of Alaska when I told people where I was from I was met with wonder, peppered with questions and held up like a trophy – they knew someone from Alaska! People would ask about my childhood – what it was like, what possessed my parents to uproot and move there in 1956 and why I hadn’t moved back. Growing up in Alaska held a romanticism that intrigued people. I was often reliving my childhood – it had been an exciting and unique one. I certainly hadn’t lost it.
I believe my parent’s divorce, my father’s remarriage and early death of my mother had the effect of erasing the emotions – the joy and wonder of my childhood. There was no longer that connection to help keep them alive. As I journeyed through the slides all those feelings started flowing back. I felt as if I’d reclaimed something that had gone missing awhile ago.
While the emotional aspects of my story can probably be analyzed till the cows come home, one of the benefits of getting older (58) is the realization that there is no longer a need to. I’ve reached an age where I mostly accept life is what it is. I may not have liked aspects of it, but nothing and no-one is just as we wish them to be. And thank God for that, thank God for our imperfect parents, spouse, siblings, children and selves. It’s the imperfect that allows us to be fully human.
This blog is a thank you, a homage to my Dad, aka, John, Jonathon Joe, father, grandfather, husband, photographer, adventurer, homebody, builder, mechanic, tinkerer, avid reader, lover of nature, believer of the odd, traveler, sailer, volunteer, conversationalist, loner, soft-hearted, distant, walker, letter writer……imperfect fellow traveler.