I peeked in to say goodnight
And then I heard my child in prayer
Send for me some scarlet ribbons
Scarlet ribbons for my hair.
All the stores were locked and shuttered
All the streets were dark and bare
In our town no scarlet ribbons
No scarlet ribbons for her hair.Through the night my heart was aching
Just before the dawn was breaking.I peeked in and on her bed
In gay profusion laying there
Scarlet ribbons, scarlet ribbons
Pretty scarlet ribbons for her hair.If I live to be a hundred
I will never know from where
Came those lovely scarlet ribbons
Scarlet ribbons for her hair…
10 years tomorrow Dad, my goodness where has that time gone?
I remember your last few days on earth, boy were you not happy…you had had a minor stroke, something you feared very much as your father had also left this earth the same way. I was called into the nursing home that night at 1am in the morning only to see you lying on the bed not saying much as they wheeled you away. The next day we saw you in at St Vincents and you were so mad that you had landed in there. You were not born in a hospital so never wanted to spend your last days in one either…
My biggest regret Dad was that you had to leave your home, our family home of 40 plus years to go into a nursing home, how I so didn’t want that for you, and either did you as it turns out. Four days in, you checked out, it wasn’t for you and I understood that, I am only deeply sorry that you suffered the pain of having to make that final choice.
I’m told you are ok, dancing and singing wherever you are, out of pain and with Mum and Michael, so for you all is well. I have learnt that death is just another door and the hardest part of death is for those left behind. Its taken me 10 years to realise that the three of you are all ok and so must we be too, otherwise the rest of our lives are wasted and that is not what we are meant to do.
I dont dwell on it too much, but I do think of you often and always in a wonderful way. I never want to forget and I often think of you when I am near nature, the sea, the autumn leaves and trees. I even travelled across to the other side of the world to see and feel the ‘magnificence of God’s work’ – The beauty of autumn always reminds me of you Dad, you were able to always stop and see the beauty of nature amongst your busy life with six children and a sick wife. I believe I got the best parts of you (the only one with your dimpled chin), your sense of humour and ethics and integrity.
I know this has labelled me a ‘goody too shoes’ a few more times that I have liked amongst my siblings. I have relaxed somewhat over the past few decades, and try not to stress to much about things beyond my control anymore, instead try to experience calm by surrounding myself with things I love to do. Death will teach you that – its the one most compelling lesson amidst all the pain that you take away from the loss and that is to start living your life on your terms, go see that movie, put your feet up and read that book, travel wide and far, love deeply, work less not more and make time for all those things you ‘want to do one day’, this is how I am now living my life at mybeachretreat, on my terms, and if I dont want to do something these days, simply I just dont. I want to live the rest of my life my way and leave this realm without any regrets.
One day, I know we will meet up again, it wont be for a long while though Dad as I have so much left here to do but until then I try to live my life as you did, with kindness, integrity and awe of the amazing opportunity we each get every morning we awake and are still breathing.
So I was thinking today of a lovely way to remember you this year on this 10th Anniversary and thought I would share the best 10 things I loved about you the most..
You were the best Dad a girl could ever wish for –
I know almost every girl says this, but truly, I was definately lucky to experience this love firsthand
You taught me how to love unconditionally
You instilled punctuality into me and honestly I am never late for anything!
You were an amazing Grandad and I am so glad you got to experience this love. I just hope my children will always remember you as the years go by
You instilled in me goodness and rightfulness much to the annoyance of some
You taught me to never lie, and still today I cannot tell a lie
I have definitely inherited your wit and dry sense of humour and often can hear you in my head finishing a silent joke that if you were here we would both get
I absolutely hated whenever I did something you did not approve of
You taught me to appreciate stillness and the beauty of nature, something I will always be grateful for as it has taught me to stop in this fast world and admire the world around us
You showed me the meaning of a ‘true gentleman’, not many men grace this earth the way you did Dad, you were definitely a rare breed
We had our favourite song, just you and I, called Scarlet Ribbons and on this 10th anniversary as I shed a quiet tear while I listen to this old tune again, who better than Harry Belafonte to sing it home for us…
So, wherever you are Dad,
on this 10th year
with out you in our lives,
I hope you are still singing
this beautiful song
which will never leave me
as long as I am alive…