Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Dear Dad,
I'm writing you this letter, partly to reassure myself that when tomorrow comes, I needn't dread the loss of you again. A man only dies once I remind myself. Its been quite a year since you died, a lot of things have changed. I'm lucky to have a great relationship with a man whom you'd have loved talking to. Those stock ticker tapes you used to watch all the time when I'd come over? The world financial news? He's right there with you. You'd love how he deals with the kids, and you'd know if you watched him for a while that he takes good care of your daughter when things are rough. Like this week when the tears keep popping out. But anyhow. I guess you won't be surprised, but it seems like its taken all year to do all the estate paperwork, pack up your house and sell it, unpack and reincorporate those things into our house. You'd have been more efficient about it all, but its getting done. I still get mail for you... The Republican party needs you more than ever I might add. The war you had begun to hate has only gotten worse, yet the news you were so fixated with drones on with the same story every day... more people killed in Iraq. Its terrible. I wonder if you would still turn on the TV if you were here.

The kids are doing great, starting new schools this fall and their grades are good so far. They think "the boyfriend" is silly, smart and fun, if a bit nerdy. V. loves bike riding with him and he's learning all about bills of material and perspective drawing. I'm not sure how this could work out so smoothly, but I'm very grateful it is. We've done a bunch of traveling this Spring and Summer, I think you would have liked the trip to D.C. the best. The kids even got to see testimony in the Senate about immigration, one of your favorite hot topics. I liked the trip up to Vancouver the best...something about a road trip and days of freedom without any real agenda. We just got back this week from "the big daughter's" house, where we saw dozens of otters and hundreds of birds on a pontoon boat trip up a slough. There's lots of updates on her side, but I'll let her tell you about them.

I bought an acre of land this summer. Its a few miles from here but much more rural, and it had an old house we had to tear down, and underneath the invading blackberries there's a small orchard and a whole heck of a lot of tires, and we discovered the grapevine produces dark purple grapes that taste just like Welch's only better. There's some pictures I'll probably post soon that would scare the bejeezus out of you but don't worry, we got insurance. The boyfriend and I are looking at house plans now, and maybe by this time next year a new home will be close to finished. In the meantime I am swamping everything out... the garage is finally organized, I make weekly trips to Goodwill, and I hate to tell you this but that Lladro donkey? It's destined for Ebay.

If you're wondering how I'm going to get all this stuff done, that large computer manufacturer laid me and about fifteen thousand other people off. That's ok, twenty three years there was long enough and other people needed their jobs more than I did. I was sick of the migraines and it wasn't getting better. Now I'm not sure how I had time to work but when things slow down after the holidays I'll think more about what to do next. Maybe hospice work. Dying is an amazing process. So is grieving. There's a lot to learn there.

I wasn't really sure what to do about Thanksgiving this year. All those friends that dealt with that phone call just after dinner last year... we've been together on Thanksgiving for years but it seemed so awkward to talk about this time. I thought I'd be bringing up miserable memories for them and started to feel guilty for what they went through... but to a person every friend who was there is coming over tomorrow afternoon, and there will be the usual amount of cooking and mad preparations. The turkey's eighteen-some pounds, I know you'd have asked. We brined it last night and V. is anxious to stuff it and get it ready to bake tomorrow morning. I'm really glad my friends are going to be with me and the kids. I don't know if I can manage the toast to you like I did last year, but my god you are woven into every tradition, every memory, both sad and happy. So I guess I'll say it here Dad, thanks for everything, we miss you. Hope the weather's good there.
Little Daughter

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