Seasonal Sundays

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"Sailor, your watch is over. Soldier, it's time to sleep."

My sister and I lost our dad this week.

And while he was 95, we just didn't see it coming ... and it all just happened so very, very fast, a matter of mere hours.

That day, and the few days since, are a blur.

But this I know. He died with much love and without pain.

And that is a blessing ...


My dad was a man of many faces. He could be so gruff and severe but one of his favorite roles was playing Santa at Christmas, a role he reprised just two Christmases ago when my husband and I had dinner with him: he dressed in a Santa shirt and cap and oh! he grinned. He was so often quiet and reserved but he loved a good story and a good joke. He Kept the Faith.

As a member of the Greatest Generation, my dad's proudest moments came early in his life when he served in the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific during World War II.

Until the end, he wore Navy caps bearing the likenesses of the carriers aboard which he served, the USS Lexington, the USS Wisconsin, the USS Shangri-La and the the USS Bennington. Later he served in the U.S. Army in a special "go first" unit during the Cold War.

Since I find myself mostly without words, I'm going to leave you some of his, taken from the letter that accompanied a Christmas gift nearly thirty years ago.

As you'll soon see, he was the writer in the family.

Dearest Daughter Alanna,


The little Lone Sailor, a figurine of the life size statue at the US Navy Memorial in Washington, DC, is a strange sort of gift, perhaps, but in it I try to give you a sense of an essence of me that though it is not Father, and Husband but which was father and husband before your Mother, before you and your sister, that part of me which was US Fighting Man of Duty, Honor, Country, when the world exploded because of an immense Evil, an evil I knew must be confronted and destroyed so that there might be your Mother, you and your sister, so that a sailor’s dreams of you all, before I knew who any of you would be, could become real.


The dreams did become real and I am so grateful all of you are who you are, now and forever. I have been richly blessed, to love all of you.


There are other seas, there are other shores than those we walk and someday when we walk, for a while, different shores, perhaps you can look at the little Lone Soldier, and hear me in the wind, or see me in the sun, until that day when all of us are home at last in the safest anchorage of all.


God bless you, and all you love, always.


May the same be true for each of you.


So many of you have followed me in this journey with him, from when I first promised to help him "rage, rage against the dying of the light"; when he moved to St. Louis to live with my husband and me the day after his 90th birthday; when he needed more care than could be managed here at home and he moved to a senior center just two miles away where Luka the dog and I visited nearly every day; to this last year during the pandemic, when I've seen him in person just four times but we've spoken by phone every day.

My husband quotes a Wallace Stephens poem:"Death is the mother of all beauty". If life were without pain, life's joys would mean less.

Ours is just one small sadness, smaller than most, larger than few. In my dad's memory, perhaps today you'll reach out to someone who's a good and decent father, as mine was, to the very end.

Thank you for accepting this remembrance of my dad. My heart is cracked wide but it shall heal, in time, as it must, as each of our hearts must mend in our own due time.


About the Photo Insight into the Top Image: I was able to spend some last moments with my dad, precious forever. We have a "thing" for images of hands in this family and somehow, as Dad and I grasped hands for the last time, I managed to reach my phone.


© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2021

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.

Comments

  1. Dear Alanna,
    God bless you and your wonderful memories of your Dad. "So sorry for your loss" seems inadequate to express the caring that I feel for you at this time. Stay well.
    Nancy

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  2. All my prayers for your loss. May the Lord give you peace and comfort and may his memory and your loving service to him bring you joy as you heal.

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  3. Alanna, I wish you all the comfort and peace of knowing that your dad is waiting, as he said, "in the safest anchorage of all." Best wishes to you and your family.

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  4. Oh, Alanna, I'm so sorry. Thank you for entrusting us with your grief, with the beautiful words written by your dad long ago, and with the so-precious picture of your hands entwined. The stories you have shared before about your Dad, from his stone-throw-from-Canada Rainy River home to his more recent time with you in St. Louis, have shown how special he was to you. He has found his safe anchorage with the one who also understands and shelters cracked-open hearts.
    Susan (Thunder Bay)

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  5. I'm so sorry for your loss {{HUGS}}

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  6. Constancia5/02/2021

    Dear Alanna, I am so very sorry to learn that your father has died. I'm so glad that you were able to be with him until the end. I'm sure that made it easier for him to leave you peacefully and with a sense of completeness and yet immeasurable loss. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. May his memory be a blessing.

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  7. Dear Alanna. My thoughts and prayers are with you. My Dad also died very suddenly almost 13 years ago. I felt all of your sadness and heart breaking. These days ahead will be so difficult and sad. Lean on your family and friends. They will help you the most. I wish I could tell you that you will be "better" soon. A Dad is someone who you never forget about and grief is such an ugly emotion. Please take one day at a time. AND never apologize for your grief. Your dad was a very special person

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  8. How fortunate you were to spend his last moments with him and to have him for such a very long time. I have enjoyed your "Dad" anecdotes and my heart goes out to you and your family. My deepest condolences. I too was a Daddy's girl and lost my dad in 1977 when he was 59 and I was 33. We speak about him often and even the great grandchildren who came many years later "know" him. No one dies when someone still speaks his name. Enjoy your special memories until you meet your Dad and Mom again

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna