Hi folks. I apologize for the length of time in between blogs lately. I imagine it will not get much better when I go back to work, but I will try my best, because this here blog is good for me and it also is a nice place to preserve memories.
Anyhoo, today is June 11. I didn’t even want to write this last night and post it today because it just didn’t seem right. Three years ago today, my father passed away. Not from a fighting a long battle with a disease, not from an inherited condition. Suddenly and out of nowhere his heart gave up on him. And as many others who have also dealt with a major loss, I look at life now as before my Dad died and after. It’s weird how that happens but it just did. The significance his passing has had in my life is monumental. But what I want to focus this entry on is not his passing- because I am having a hard enough time not thinking of that afternoon and all the horrid details. Instead, I want to focus on the significance of his LIFE on me. Because clearly I miss him as much as I do, because of the time we spent together when he was here.
|Traveling Exhibit in Dollywood|
Last week we went on a whirlwind vacation. First to Kentucky to participate in the research study at University of Louisville. Then to the Smoky Mountains in Tennesee for family vacation with my in laws. THEN to North Carolina to catch up with old friends from liberti and to meet some new (only in person) friends who I have been anxious to meet for some time. My Dad was on my mind constantly. It was strange how much he popped into my head. Not to say that I don’t think of him often, because I do, but this was almost every day, multiple times a day. I would think of how he would love whatever activity we were doing. I would think how he would totally love what Evan was doing at the time. I would think how we would spend hours in the car together on our roller coaster adventures and we would record ourselves rating the roller coasters. He called me Electric Erin and he was “Rollo” Robert. We would rate them by “rabbit hops” (what the fun, quick up and down hops on a roller coaster are called). I think the scale was 1 through 5 rabbit hops. Of course, with a rating of 5 being an amazing roller coaster!
I thought of him most when we were in Dollywood, a sprawling amusement park in Pigeon Forge, TN. We saw a sign for the Roller Coaster Museum and I knew I had to go in. My mind was flooded with memories as I walked around and looked at the pictures, articles, and memorabilia. I walked around with my mother and father in law and they kindly asked questions and listened to me as I pointed over and over saying things like, “We went there!” “Oh my goodness, I remember that one!” “Dad I rode that one in the pouring rain!” or “We stayed in the craziest place when we went to that park.” There was one display that I wish I had taken a picture of- it had all the collectibles of an ACE member. ACE stands for American Coaster Enthusiasts. If you already know about that club, it is probably because you are a family member or friend reading this. It’s not a household name for sure. But we were members. When I was 11 years old I believe, I was a member. I had several tee shirts with the insignia on it. My father and my stepmother had silk screened jackets.
|Debbie and my Dad doing what they loved.|
When I came out of the exhibit, I felt lighter somehow, and so excited to tell Todd (who was sitting with Evan outside). As I rambled on about different things I saw, and their significance to me, it made me realize how important it is to write down as much as I can remember. As time passes, memories fade. As much as I absolutely hate to admit it, the older I get, and the more time passes since an experience, the memory of that experience becomes dimmer and dimmer. And I refuse to lose the amazing memories I have of my dad. I have the ability to enjoy life and live it with the people I am blessed to still have in my life. But I do not have that luxury with my father- so I need to preserve what memories I still have in my grasp.
Here is a link to a lovely article written about my dad in lieu of an obituary.