Six years ago today, my dad died. The day before he died, we celebrated Kolbjorn's 3rd birthday in Saskatoon at the Fun Factory, and then had ice cream cake at Jerry's. After the party, we got a phone call, asking us to come to the home where Dad was - he wasn't doing well. Birgitte and I spent that Saturday night at his bedside with Mom. Dad died after church the next day.
I haven't really thought much about Dad in the last few months; I guess I've gotten used to not having him around. Tonight, however, I'm finding that I really miss him. I wish he had been here, memory intact, throughout Kol's treatment. I remember that he was good at thinking outside the box, or maybe it was just that his box was so much different than mine. I loved just sitting and talking to him, getting him to tell me stories about "the olden days" when I was smaller, and then having more serious discussions as I got older. He was my sounding board when I had tough decisions to make. He would patiently sit and listen as I talked through my reasons for being indecisive, occasionally agreeing with me, occasionally pointing out a different point of view, yet quietly letting me know that it was my decision to make, and reassuring me that he'd be there to back me up, no matter what I decided. Almost always by the end of those conversations, I would know what I wanted to do, and I felt confident in my decision. Looking back, some (many?) of those early decisions were pretty inconsequential in the grand scheme of things - typical teenage angst - yet Dad seemed to take them as seriously as I did.
Tonight, I desperately miss that sounding board. I haven't had it for a long time - Alzheimer's stole that ability from Dad years before he died - but tonight, I wish that he had been here. I wish he had been here with his quiet stoicism, his patient listening ear, his insightful point of view, and his non-judgmental back-up when we had so many decisions to make regarding Kol's treatment. There have been times throughout the last 16 months when I've felt as if I were floundering around, uncertain - even lost. Today, when the memories of Dad came flooding back, I realized that I've been missing my sounding board. I've been longing for a good listener, somewhat removed from the situation, with life experience, to help me sort out all of the conflicting, confusing information and help me come to the best possible solution. My Dad. I long for the confidence I had after one of those discussions with him.
Dad can't be my sounding board any more. I know I can try to imagine what he'd say, and I will. I think I can even guess pretty accurately what he would say. But right now, I just wish he were here to say it himself.