His gentle smile will be a part of his children, and his grandchildren, and their children, forever.
At first I was uncertain if I should share this story with you, the many readers, whose many homes I will never know, but with whom I have shared our creek valley life for the past four years. But as I thought about it, I realized that you have already come to know a bit about my father, and I believe that you would want to know about this last chapter of his life.
He closed his eyes for the last time on this past Tuesday evening, and gently let out his last breath on Thursday morning. My brother and I were right by his side.
I know that the light in his soft blue eyes may have dimmed and flickered away, but I also know that whenever I look up towards the sun and the moon and the clouds and the stars, I will be able to see him, no matter where I am, or what I am doing. As he wished, his ashes will be scattered at sea to join my mother, who ashes have already joined the ocean, the world.
And when the breeze and wind blow my hair into my eyes, I will think of his stories of windmills, and how he claimed that it was really the Dempster that won the west, and I will know that in his heart, I am a windmiller’s daughter.
He was a clock maker, and yes, his clocks will keep time to our creek valley life.
He was a longshoreman, I will always be able to smile when I think of the creek water that runs past our farm and flows south to the river and on down to the sea.
He was an inventor, and it is so right that his lathe now turns parts for our farm machinery and Greg’s creations. His well worn tools fit so perfectly into both our shop cabinets and the palms of our hands.
He was, and always will be my father, a most gentle man, a scholar, a dreamer, and a wonderful story teller. Our children grew up falling asleep as they listened to his bedtime stories. I have to smile as our great grandchildren now fall asleep to the same tales told by their parents.
Yes … I really do know that he is not gone, not in the least. He has simply joined my mother, and my grandmothers and grandfathers, and all those who have lived their lives ahead of him. He said it so well, just the other day, with both a smile and a gentle touch to my hand, “I have lived a good life”.
“Yes indeed, dear Dad, you have.”
Nov. 24, 1923 – Feb. 11, 2016