Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pop's Chair

Here I sit in the wing chair in our kitchen - the chair that we call "Pop's Chair." Pop's Chair --- because it was the chair my Dad used to always sit in when he came to visit. It is December 20th, 2016.  I have yet to even barely think about Christmas - except for packing my handmade pottery for gifts for others to give. Christmas is easier now that Julia is older and she doesn't expect as much as when she was a little thing. 

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.

13 comments:

Sally said...

What a lovely tribute and beautiful bittersweet post. Thank you, Kristin!

Joanne LaCour said...

hugs...

Cheryl Korytoski said...

It's so hard to lose a parent, no matter what age or circumstance. I miss my father every Thanksgiving (around his birthday) and again in March when he died 20 years ago. Its nice that you have that special chair to remind you, no matter how sadly, of your dad. Hugs to you, Cheryl

Kristin Nicholas said...

Hugs to you too Joanne.

Kristin Nicholas said...

Thx so much Cheryl. So loved meeting David. Julia is over the moon with her pom pom sales. Thx so much. XO

Running with a sharp pencil said...

I lost my dad to a heart attack in 1991 shortly before the holidays. We changed our traditions that year- my best friend invited our family over for Xmas Eve dinner and we did that for many years. Many losses and pains to navigate in this life, but so much joy too. Having young children I had to care for helped me and my mom through the loss.

Robin said...

What a sad, but beautiful tribute. I'm sorry for your loss.

Melanie said...

Peace and blessings to you as you remember your wonderful dad.

Auntie Shan said...

:-[
geez, Girlfriend, you just made me cry.
***HUGS***!!
XxX

Mark L. said...

Kristin:

I could tell about 1,000 stories about Arch and everything he did for me and what an honor it was to have known him for the relatively brief period of time I did. My Dad and I still talk about my time with Arch (even my Dad and Arch became good friends!), and I tell my kids stories about working at your house and being Arch's chauffeur and getting to meet all his legendary Penn friends. It struck me as amazing, and still does, that I was sitting at a table with Eagles legend Chuck Bednarik, and all Chuck could do was tell me what an amazing athlete and guy Archie Nicholas was. I loved reading your tribute to him, and it certainly rekindles some of those old memories. You have an amazing family, and your Mom and Arch were certainly the captains of that ship! I hope you and your whole family have a wonderful holiday and a Merry Christmas! Please tell your Mom I said hello and wish her a Merry Christmas. As for buying presents late, I'm sitting at my desk trying to figure out how the hell I'm going to get out of here to actually buy the presents for Sunday, so you're not alone!!! Peace and God Bless, Kristin!

Anonymous said...

Your father sounds like a wonderful man and a blessing to your family. Holidays with dear ones missing are tough in obvious ways, but tougher in the indescribable ways. Sending a hug from a stranger, but it's heartfelt all the same.

P.S. We chose hymns and our two older children chose several other songs, including Frank Sinatra as well, for our 16 year old son's funeral.

Daisy said...

What a handsome man your dad was and with such a winning smile! Thank you for sharing such a lovely heartfelt post with which, unfortunately, so many of us can relate. The inevitability of losing a parent does not make it any easier to bear when the time comes, nor to carry on afterwards. It is a blessing to have children and young ones in our lives, for whom the joy of Christmas is still whole and innocent, and that is what I try to focus on when missing my own dad at holidays... and every day of the year.

Goldie Stetten said...

What a lovely tribute, you look just like him too. I'm a late shopper too, I focus way more on decor and entertaining.