My Dad was the greatest man to walk the face of the earth
It’s 7:30 in the evening on October 11, 2016 and I just walked my oldest dog, Fat Nikki, a 15 year old Shih Tzu who is blind, coughing, Lyme disease victim and basically on her way out.
We walk on our front lawn, I have to pull her and she will slowly follow doing her #1 and #2 as she goes. My other Shih Tzu, Sophie, almost 12, is afraid of the dark so she goes on the mat.
While out at the corner of the property I could see the neighbor across the street in his garage. I never met them (for reasons I will go into another time) but he was doing carpentry. He had a bench saw running and was ripping 2 by 4's.
It’s a clear and cool night about 55 degrees with a slight breeze. The odor of the wood and electric motor hit my 65 year old nostrils.
My face tightened holding back tears.
It was the identical smell from the 1960's where Pop would do his thing from the basement. He was a finish carpenter in the early ‘50's and built our 3 bedroom, 1 bath rancher in 1957.
I looked up at the moon and the stars and located Mars in the teapot constellation. Tears just flowing in a horribly depressed state. I haven’t had this many tears since I was 3.
You see, we lost Dad on October 14, 2004 so we’re coming up on 12 years. He was almost 80. And I can’t believe we lost Mom in 2007. Add to that this recession and you can see it’s been a rough decade.
So I am thinking (for a change) about what triggers the memories and subsequent sadness.
Its usually a song or a movie or something that takes me back. Something you see or hear. But a smell? Wow, that’s different. It reminds me of a scene in the movie “Z” with Yves Montand where after he was killed his wife smells his cologne and tears fall.
Pop could make great pancakes. He would add vanilla extract to the mix. And I can’t believe I made my wife pancakes just this morning with the extract. I think Dad is around here somewhere.
How long does the grieving process take?
I guess it varies. But I can see myself telling the nurse when I’m in the nursing home, “I wish my Mom and Dad were here!”