The first of August is always a difficult day for me. It is the anniversary of my father’s death. He was with me in spirit all day and I was relieved when work ended so I could have some solitude with my thoughts. As I walked up the driveway I noticed a solitary snowdrop. The first early sign of spring, in winter.
There are many symbolisms associated with the snowdrop. Blooming at the end of winter and signalling spring, naturally, they are thought to represent hope and rebirth. On the other extreme, some say, even death. Seeing the first bloom today on the anniversary of my father’s death, I rejoiced. The flowers were planted by the previous owner and each year I eagerly wait for them to appear. Today, it felt like a gift from him, to me. I love these flowers. Now, even more.
My father was an intelligent man who enjoyed reading. Books or a cryptic crossword puzzle were telltale signs he was close by. Legs crossed at the knees, pen in hand, he would peer over his glasses briefly at the world around him. Deeply interested in politics he hated systemic corruption with a passion. His best advice to me was to be honest with my taxes. It would help me sleep well at night! I follow his advice, and do! He adored my mother to the end. She was well loved and respected in the community. He was more reserved but equally respected. When he died, as the hearse went through the main street, the shop owners stood outside like a guard of honour. For a man who was humble, the memory of their show of respect is something that does not fade with time.
During my last year of high school he would wake with me at dawn, make us a cup of tea and while I nested in a bundle of blankets to study for my exams, he would quietly complete a crossword. When he found I had fallen asleep, he would wake me gently. He was a pharmaceutical salesman for a major company and travelled extensively in my early childhood. He would always return with a small gift or biscuits for me. I would wait every day for his return. Sometimes, it was months.
My father never got to see my children or enjoy the fruits of my success. It is something I yearn to share with him. The little girl in me still waits for him.
I’ve come to realise, when you love someone, waiting is not a difficult thing to do.
a dawn bird
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