It’s strange the little things that bring us to a moment or a memory. For me, it’s my Dad’s hammer.
Dad and I had an interesting relationship. Some of it was really bad. Some of it was really good. 10 years ago I had to come to grips with our relationship. There were answers I would never get from my father. There were things he just wasn’t capable of doing because of the way he was raised. 10 years ago I finally got to the point where I didn’t need apologies and I didn’t need answers. I had worked through my “stuff” and I was finally able to accept him as he was. That was freedom. The day I stopped expecting him to be one thing, and just accepted who he was.
He made some mistakes as a father, and as a grandfather but for him, his grandchildren were everything. He always had time for them. He always had them sitting on his lap reading to them. He would make spears with them, go hiking and go fishing, His love for them was fierce. I remember being so mad at him one time. I was trying to discipline one of my kids for being wild at Nani and Papa’s, he jumped in and said “Jeanum, it’s my fault. I gave them the candy. They didn’t do anything.” My Dad called me Jeanum. When he called me that, I knew I was outnumbered. He loved his grandkids with a passion and they new it and used it to their advantage. He hadn’t been able to love his own kids that way, but with his Grandkids his love was unconditional.
3 years ago he was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. Its a horrible disease. He spent 12 weeks in horrible pain. In those 12 weeks I spent almost every moment with him at the hospital and then in my home where he took his last breath. His humor was always there, even through the pain. He enjoyed the simple things like the birds eating in the birdfeeder or my dog Molly who stayed by his side. We took naps together because we were so exhausted and we listened to all his favorite country tunes. Things got worse and Dad lost his battle with cancer. I had the privilege of watching him take his last breath. It’s something I will never forget.
For now, I’m left with memories of my Dad. This old hammer is one of them His hands were on this hammer so many times. He build my playhouse with it. He fixed things around the house. He helped the grandkids with a million projects. It’s old and worn. Dad never liked new tools. He liked the ones he had broken in. I remember Dad’s hands were always blistered. He worked with his hands all the time. I can almost picture him walking around in the backyard with this hammer in his hands. As I said, my memories aren’t all sweet, but this one is. This hammer reminds me of my Dad – he was hardworking, blistered and tough and he loved his family.