Wednesday 17 February 2010: Inheritance
When my Dad was diagnosed with cancer it was right before his 85th birthday. And he was ready. He told me quality was more important than quantity and that he had no intention of 'clinging'. He'd lived a wonderful life and he was ready to move on.
The quality over quantity motto is not the only thing my Dad left me. Over the years he taught me that there are always two sides to a story and to listen to both of them. He taught me the joy of planting seeds and watching them grow into plants. He installed in me a great sense of justice. And while I made fun of it while he was alive, his 'I-can-fix-it-don't-you-dare-throw-it-away' attitude has made me a more frugal person. Duct-tape is your friend!
There are the failures too: In all his life I did NOT want to eat his lima-beans no matter how hard he had worked to grow them. Sorry, Papa.
Some of the things I inherited are visible. His brown suede coat, the only expensive thing he ever let my mom buy for him. His watch, that finally stopped working (strangely enough close to the hour of his death). And his Thieme's Natuurgids (nature guide) that he and I and everyone else in the family used to identify strange creatures and pretty birds in our yard or where we had encountered them.
The last weeks of his life were spent in front of our big back-window, so he could see the sparrows, the 'koolmeesjes' (the translation escaped me, sorry) and the occasional dove eat the breadcrumbs and sunflower seeds my mom put outside. They were good weeks, in many ways.
February 18th (which it already is, in my homeland) marks the 5th anniversary.
It doesn't get a whole lot easier.