Sunday, December 4, 2011


My brother texted me this photo today...
We live 12 hours away from my Dad's grave site, so D must have known I'd want to see the wreath he had placed in front of the headstone. To me it's a beautiful photo. 

Headstones say so little, don't they? I guess Dad's tombstone would tell you that he had no middle name and he was in the army (not by the time I entered the scene). You'd also see the dates of his birth and death--plus you'd know that his family knew him to be a loving Dad and Grandpa.

But there's so much more to his story, so much more to him, Donald Fennema. My Daddy.

Some day I'll tell you the story of how my Dad left this earth, but not now. Let's save that for Easter. For now I'll just say that he's gone from here and it's highly likely that he's fishing with Jesus and not sorry to miss out on our festivities one bit. From our vantage point he left too soon, but I'm so not bitter.

I honestly expected that my Dad would be alive today and coming to stay with us for another Christmas. I loved having him around for the holidays; at Christmas time he provided a gentle, stable (pun so intended) presence to offset our family's loud, fun chaotic environment. 

So I texted our five children this photo and asked them to share a favorite memory of Grandpa. Three out of five got back to me within an hour and here's what they had to say about their Grandpa, my Dad...
...My favorite memory of him is when he and I took that road trip to California.
...going for a walk together after we prepared and ate Thanksgiving dinner.
...when he came for almost every Christmas break and we would make puzzles together every single time!:)

Of course I have slightly more than a few favorite memories of my own...

...long walks and talks pushing Samuel in the stroller when we lived in Montreal and you came to visit.

...the questions that you asked because you took the time to listen.

...watching you waiting at the airport with a quiet smile to greet a granddaughter you had never met. Then hearing you say over and over how happy it made you to be a part of her homecoming.

...the puzzles we made together and the puzzles I watched you make with your newest granddaughter.

Yes, Dad, you would not have recognized the fancy term, "quality time," but you lived it with every one of us. We remember. You. Donald Fennema.  Walker, talker, listener, puzzler, welcomer, road tripper, friend. I miss you like crazy, Daddy.

1 comment:

  1. This is beautiful. What a warm, kind man you've described. I'm sorry you're missing him.


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