Sunday would have been Dad’s 83rd birthday. Life expectancy for a Canadian man is just over 82 years, so I suppose he was pretty average in that way. Yes, I looked it up, trying to make sense of it and continuing to fail at making it okay that he’s gone. Reminding myself that it’s the natural order of things.
We got together with Dad’s only remaining sibling and his family and marked the day with good food and conversation. I miss him so much. We all do.
One of my chores on the weekend was more like a labour of love. I now have custody of the pine dining table my Mother bought decades ago that became the core meeting place in our family home. It has some nicks and scratches, a small crack or two and other signs of being well used. I’m overjoyed that I have it and its blemishes are beautiful in my eyes. If I was working on this table a couple of decades ago, I’d be trying to make it perfect. But I’ve learned that the beauty is often in the imperfections.
When my brother and I were kids, Dad sat at one end of the table at dinner. In the last years of his life, while Parkinson’s took away his mobility, he rolled an office chair up to the middle of the table for breakfast and coffee. The table shows extra wear at that spot.
Derek helped me assemble a sander, sandpaper and other things I needed to remove the last of the old varnish and prepare to give the table a new coating. Before he left me to start sanding off the varnish he said, “Don’t go at it too hard in the middle there. Leave a bit of Jack behind.” I fired up the sander with tears in my eyes, my heart warmed that he saw the project the same way I did. There will always be some of both my parents in this table, as long as we have it.