Editor's column: Resting in peace with my dad’s loveTwenty-seven years ago, my father died on Oct. 13. It was a Monday — Columbus Day. This year Columbus Day was Oct. 14. Because he was a federal employee, he had the day off.
Twenty-seven years ago, my father died on Oct. 13. It was a Monday — Columbus Day. This year Columbus Day was Oct. 14. Because he was a federal employee, he had the day off.
He was flying home after attending an event in Washington, D.C. When he boarded the plane, the person seeing him off said he had a smile on his face.
That’s a comfort to me because he died on that flight. That happens, and if it does to the person in the seat next to you, it might seem gross. But remember, it’s somebody’s dad or loved one.
The day of my dad’s funeral, Oct. 17, was the same day President Reagan came to our town. My father was a great socializer. He had many interests and with those interests came a wide variety of friends — from both sides of the political aisle — so his Republican friends had to decide whether they would attend my dad’s funeral or go see the president.
It’s big news when a president comes to any town, but especially a town in North Dakota. I remember looking out my front door and seeing men in suits wearing sunglasses. I knew they were Secret Service agents. I also saw a hearse drive down the avenue. I knew my father’s body was in it. The whole thing was surreal.
There are several other interesting — weird, perhaps — events that occurred preceding, during or immediately after his death, and I’ve thought about writing about them, but I don’t want to make hay out of them. And I am my
father’s daughter when I say “making hay.” It was an idiom of his, as he was raised on a farm.
As my brother said, Dad was a complicated and interesting man and even his death was interesting and complicated.
I hope every daughter thinks her dad is interesting, but the way he could complicate things sometimes drove me nuts. And I found my life to be a lot less complicated after his passing.
I had barely turned 26 when he died. Now I have a daughter who had not yet been conceived when he died and who will be 26 in less than six months. These ages and the Oct. 13 date last week may or may not be significant anniversaries, but they mean something to me. When I was the age my daughter is now, I was struggling with what to do with my life. So is she.
Now, in thinking about my relationship with my father,
I realize that my relationship with my father had its strife, while hers tends to be full of adoration, but we both share a similar gift from our respective fathers.
As much as Dad could make me crazy and as angry as we could get at one another, I do know that he loved me.
And that is probably the most precious gift a man can give his daughter.