On this day in 2004, before the internet and cellphones and all the modern things invaded everyone's life, I got a call at 7:30 a.m. from my sister Jenn. She was sobbing. Daddy had died early that morning. He had had a heart attack when my Mom was on an early morning run to the airport to pick up my two nephews who were coming to visit for the holidays.
Daddy was gone and life would never be the same.
I remember that day as if it were yesterday. I hung up the phone, told Mark what had happened, and got Julia ready for school. Gutted - that is how I felt - like the wind and everything else had been ripped from me. I didn't know what to do, where to turn, how to stop crying and when to start crying. I was numb.
Julia was six years old and I had yet to purchase a Christmas gift for her or for anyone else. I didn't know how I was going to get through the day, nor the holiday.
I got in the car and drove to Brattleboro. I'm not sure how I got there driving through the tears. I picked up some things at Walgreen's and Sam's and then headed to the most beautiful fabric store in the world - Delectable Mountain. I've written about this store before - about all the beauty that there is within its doors. It is my safe place when I need inspiration and a pick me up. I bought myself, my sisters and my Mom each a pair of matching sparkly earrings (yes - a fabric store that sells earrings too). I told Jan the owner of the store what had happened. She gave me a CD of her latest music recordings. I went on my way home.
The next morning we drove to NJ and spent several days in NJ with Mom, my sisters, brothers-in-laws, nieces, nephews extended family, and friends. Over 750 people came to Daddy's calling hours. My sisters and I heard story after story about the kindness Archie had showed people in town over the years. My sisters and I put together a Memorial Service with a lot of heart, personality, story telling - nothing like ever had been done in the First United Methodist Church in Dover, NJ. Daddy would have loved it. We ended it with Frank Sinatra. Ever since that year, Christmas has been bittersweet.
Now in honor of my Daddy/aka Pop, listen to this. It is beautiful. We should all do it "My Way"
I guess I haven't learned to shop any earlier than December 20th. I'm going to head out now and see if I can find something that is deserving of giving to my family - probably socks and gloves because they are most needed for lambing season coming up. I'll visit Jan at Delectable Mountain and thank her for her kindness. This morning it was 8 below zero.
Mostly what I am going to do is think back on the love, the kindness, and goodness that Dad gave to us and everyone else. And his example of living a life of passion. And I'll cry a tear or two. Love you and miss you Daddy.