January Review

Well, what can I say? January was not what I had hoped it to be. Not as productive nor as stage setting as I had planned it to be. I was angry at myself for a few days about that but then it hit me that, well, I am still grieving. This is my first year without Dad, my first month without him. I miss him dearly, everywhere I turn on the homestead he is there in the things he build, created, repaired, loved and cherished. Every time I walk down to the stables I pass through the gate he and I build together almost a decade ago. Every time I feed my horse I open the feed gate he build more than 25 years ago. Every time I come home I park my car under the car port, he build years ago and pass by the chestnut tree he loved so dearly. Sometimes I sit in the door of the hayloft, feet dangling into the deep, looking over the homestead, thinking about all the times we brought in hay together and how often I watched him climb up this ladder. How much I adored his strength throwing the hay up into the loft. I often see him in my mind with his chain saw, clad in green and orange, just coming home from a long day in the forest and I just miss him. Deeply. It’s like a nagging thought, that is always there, not always at the front of my mind but always lingering in the back, like an annoying itch and it drives me crazy sometimes.

It’s been a few years since he had been last at the homestead, in my apartment and I often wonder why I never tried to bring him home, to have him visit the homestead he sacrificed so much for. He loved the homestead, he grew up here. Learned how to walk, run and talk here. The original house no longer looks like it once had but it was still his home. I wonder if he ever thought about the homestead in his last days and wondered whether or not it would stay in the family. I made sure to let him know that I will do my very best to keep it in the family. I am just not sure if he still was able to understand. There’s a reason why I didn’t bring him home to visit as often as I’d have liked to and it’s as easy as it is complicated. Sometimes it just didn’t fit with my schedule, sometimes he wasn’t good, sometimes the weather just didn’t play along and as time moved on he wasn’t able to get into a car any longer. Getting up the 13 steps to my apartment would have been impossible for him. I took pictures every time I changed something in the apartment but with time he didn’t look at them any longer. When we put together the pictures for his service I realised that I had not one picture with him and my dog Happy. When I got Happy in 2018 he was still up and around all the time but they didn’t spend a lot of time together and when he got sick in late 2018 he barley ever left the house. I remember one afternoon we managed to lure him outside and we were sitting in the garden at my parent’s home and he pet Happy a few times. I have no idea why I didn’t took a picture of that but now I regret it deeply. I know that people all the time say to put down your phone, to live in the moment and while I most of the times agree with that I really wished that I had taken a picture of my Dad with Happy. He loved her dearly. Every other day almost I talked to him over the phone when he was in the nursing home. He always asked about Happy and till the end he called her »Hundegesicht«. Translated it is »dogface« which sounds really odd but in German it sounds like a pet name.

A few days ago I heard a car pass by the homestead and for just one second I was 25 again, waiting for Dad to come home. The car sounded exactly like his old Suzuiki Samurai, a tiny green jeep. I loved that car, I can still remember the smell of it.

I have started a few things from my list for January but not as much as I would have liked. And that is okay. I tried really hard and I just needed more time to grief – and still need time for it. Grief doesn’t just end I think, right? For February I scaled back my projects a little bit but not much because I will have three weeks off work in February and I want to use that time. Not only for work but also to do some fun things like going on a hike and maybe go out for dinner with a friend or my Mom. All in all January wasn’t what I wanted but maybe what I needed. Let’s see if February will be better.

Love, Mael

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