The Red Tie… — 11 Comments

  1. Update from 1997:

    The genesis of my version is that I read an e-mail entitled the “Coolest Dad in the Universe” about a woman who had lost her father and who had written a tribute to him for father’s day about the notes he used to put in with her daily lunches. It prompted me to write a version to salute my own father.

    Miss you Dad.

  2. Update from 1998:

    If your father, or a suitable father-figure, is still alive, give them a extra hug for me the next time that you see them. I wish I could do it with my father just one more time.

    Miss you Dad.

  3. Update from 1999:

    I still picture my father out at the lake. Our summers (and later our winters too) at the lake created a feeling that permeates all aspects of my life — a love for informality, for sharing good times with friends in simple ways. Thanks Dad.

    Miss you.

  4. Update for 2000:

    This past year has reawakened a lot of things. My mother, who is 71 this year, had a scare back in the early spring when she couldn’t breathe very well and needed an amblance to take her to the hospital. Emphysema. I came home and there were four messages on my answering machine, and I immediately thought “She’s gone.” Later I changed that to simply “And so it begins”, just as it did with my dad, and when I come in the door and there are more than a couple of messages, my stomach lurches a little. Recently, my sister lost her mother-in-law, and I can remember selfishly thinking, “Perhaps I’m lucky to be single — going through it only twice has to be better than four times.”

    Somedays it seems like a long four years, almost a lifetime without him; other days, I can remember him so well, that the four years don’t seem like much time at all. I was thinking earlier today that were few times in the first year when I didn’t think of him almost every day. Now, I’ve probably gone a week at a time without thinking about him specifically. And that makes me incredibly sad because of how much he enriched my life, and I don’t want to “forget” him. People often say they would give anything to talk to someone one more time; I would be willing to settle just for the warm comforting feeling knowing he was there, that I could call him, even if I didn’t. Books I’ve read, jokes I’ve heard, stories I’ve been told…they frequently make me think, “Oh, Dad would have liked that one.” A couple of weeks ago, I did a nostalgic trip out to the lake where we used to go, and it is almost gone now as they’re developing the area for housing. One more “tie” that is lost.

    I miss you Dad.

    Love Paul

  5. Update from 2001:

    This year, I’m filled with a different set of thoughts than usual. I wonder if I am really doing enough with my life, if I’m accomplishing enough, if I’m not frittering time away. For my father, “wife and family” were the most important things in life, in anyone’s life, and a job was merely the means to support them. I am not married and my current relationship will end in the next few months for varying practical reasons. Another relationship, albeit short-term, went sour last winter, virtually ending a close friendship I had had with someone for over seven years. But even with those people in my life, along with a host of great friends, I still feel very much “alone” in the world. Which is aggravated by the fact that over the past year, I have become emotionally distant from several members of my family, including my mother. Even though those changes were necessary, it remains a source of disappointment that I can’t do “better” on issues that I agree with my father are important in life. On the work front, I have a good job even if it is not particularly satisfying at the moment and I wonder if I should be more proactive in seeking out other opportunities or relax and enjoy a slow build to my career. I’m back at school, so there is some progress there. I’m also less of an emotional squirrel than I was even three months ago, so that is promising. My finances have improved slightly but that is more a result of an increase in salary, not changes in my efforts. I am not looking for my father’s approval, but I do find myself wondering at times if I would be proud to show him my current life. At the very least it sure would be nice to talk things over with him.

    Miss you Dad.

  6. Update from 2002:

    Wow, six years. This year it seems so long that he has been gone. It has been a strange and mostly wonderful year for me, and I wish I could have talked to him on numerous occasions. The relationship I was in at this time last year ended as expected when she moved away, and while painful, we both got through it and have remained friends. I changed branches at work and got a huge promotion doing work that makes me a lot happier than my previous post, even if at times the stress and workload is more than I would like. I even found time to travel to five new countries.

    More importantly, I have met a woman that I think I could spend the rest of my life with, and I’m sure going to try. We have only been dating for four months but I can’t describe how I feel when I am with her. I am as giddy as a schoolboy most times, and we are disgustingly “cute” when we are together. Holding hands, kissing in public, watching sunsets together even when we’re just walking down the street. I would love to be able to introduce her to my father, as I think he would have enjoyed her sense of humour. Actually, in part I did introduce them — on the way back from a wedding in August, we stopped in Peterborough and I went by the gravesite. It has been almost three years since I have been there…and I was only there a few seconds when my waterworks started.

    I miss you Dad, more than ever. I hope you can see me, and how happy I have been of late. Love you.

  7. Update from 2003:

    Well, Dad, this past year has certainly been mixed. On the plus side, I have spent a lot of time with Andrea and I think I truly know how you felt with Mom all those years ago at the corner store near her house, which is a good thing obviously. 🙂 I wish you could have met Andrea, she even plays euchre and I taught her how to play “alleys” on the weekend. Only time will tell what the future holds, but whatever the outcome, I know I’ve been blessed by her time in my life.

    And Sharon is now a grandmother — Gabriel was born to Brian and Melissa in January, a sweet boy — which makes me an uncle at 7 and a great uncle at 35! Thirty-five — half the age you were when you died; when you were my age, you had been married for 11 years with five kids, Bill had just been born. Hmm, let’s not dwell there…

    And this year had its downsides. Seemed like a year for deaths… Cheryl’s mother, Andrea’s grandmother, and three colleagues from work, Tony, Michelle and Peter all passed away. I hope you meet Cheryl’s mother and Tony somewhere in the cosmos — I think you would like them. And Michelle’s death hits kind of hard as she was a closer coworker and only 26. Even knowing what I have experienced in the last 10 years makes me realize just how much she will miss out on in life. I met her family last week at a memorial service, really nice people, but I found myself thinking of you too during the service. And of Don whose health is failing with the diabetes but I’m pretty much in denial about that still. I miss you, and could have used a lot of your counsel this year.

    But to go back to the positive, Mom and the rest of the family are doing reasonably well. Hard to believe Chris is in second-year university already but he is and doing really well. I’m almost done my MPA, and while I know work isn’t as important as home, work is going really really well — I’ve been acting director a lot in the last year, got another decent promotion, and more on the horizon. Or as Mike put it, “Man do I ever have them fooled.” 🙂

    Miss you Dad.

  8. Update from 2004:

    Another year with a lot of change. Last fall, Andrea and I travelled to the Netherlands — I think you would have liked the pictures of the windmills, but would have enjoyed more the long version of the story of how I got sick at the end and had to fly home a little woozy. Definitely a story that can be exaggerated for comic effect — well, NOW, at least! The bigger news is that Andrea and I moved in together in April, renting a REAL house. I wonder how you would have felt about that — us living together. I think you would have told me it’s not the same as being married, and I feel the same way. I want to give her a ring, but I also know that there’s no real rush and it would be better timing to wait until next year…of course, I would marry her tomorrow if that was an option hehehe. The funny part is that we have described the moving in together as “better than we expected”, but the first time we described it to someone else that way, I realized that it sounded like we were saying that we expected it to suck! The real description I suppose is that it is a lot easier than we expected. Not simple by any means, but we’re adjusting. And we’ve been really enjoying the house — great deal on the place, lots of room, feels almost “adult-like”! We’re talking about our first major purchase together too, buying a car (yes Dad, finally!), but we’re learning as much about how each of us makes a major decision as we’re learning how to buy a car. Not likely to do it soon, but talking about it for now. I guess my other big news is that I finished my Masters in August and will graduate (hooding and all!) in November. Wish you could be there, just to see that I finished it…12 freaking years since I started law school, and 4 since I started doing the MPA degree again seriously at Carleton. And man, it was killing me the last year. I was so sick of it, but I promised myself I would finish it, and it is finally done. I’ve told Andrea and some friends that they’re to shoot me if I start thinking about a Ph.D. and Andrea’s promised to make it painful too! 🙂 I’m not completely sure she’s kidding either hehehe

    Work is confused at the moment. I missed out on a major opportunity for a year-long promotion as I’m not senior enough, which was disappointing but not unexpected. And after spending the summer doing french training (yes, again! easier this time though!), I realized I didn’t have a burning desire to return to work, or at least not my current work. So, I’m looking at a change — maybe something a little closer to my Foreign Affairs roots more than a development focus, or I may head over to a central agency and quit the international field altogether. A few options to pursue, and I’m trying to take my time in deciding. I haven’t seen much of the family this past year — Don’s struggling with the diabetes, Sharon’s still en rapture with the grandson Gabriel, Mike just bought a house in Yellowknife, not sure of any big news for Marie, and, Bill’s been struggling with walking and keeping mobile. Peterborough got flooded this year a LOT and Mom had to have her roof replaced at the new house. I’d be curious to know how much water the house on Dublin street had — that old sump pump would have been doing MAJOR overtime. Way worse than the floods back in the early 70s on Downie street! Speaking of Dublin street, you know what I did this week? I started work on the photos part of my website and the first and only photos posted so far are the group photos we did for your retirement party in 1987! I gave a copy to everyone last Christmas along with a scan of the candy house photo from the GE. I’ll post that one later too.

    Love you, Dad, and will miss you at graduation…

  9. Update for 2008:

    It’s been twelve years now. I wear the red tie occasionally now, even if only on your birthday, or the anniversary of our death, or with a poppy on remembrance day. Or just a day where I need a bit of an emotional boost to get out the door.

    Miss you Dad.

  10. Update for 2015:

    The last few years have been a bit of a cop-out for me on the Red Tie. I don’t have the same distribution list I used to have, so no “list” to send it to, and I didn’t have the website set-up properly so never posted it to the site.

    I shared updates on Facebook, brief reminisces, but nothing substantive. Even back in ’08, my last update, I didn’t do a full update to talk about how I got married that year, how I missed you. Or in ’09 when Jacob was born — part “cub” for Panda, part “jack” after you. Or in ’10-’14 talking about all the experiences with Jacob. He fills my life in so many ways. Or even when Mom passed or all the challenges with the estate and the siblings.

    I probably wouldn’t have said much about work, as things have been relatively stable all the way through. So many times when I would have loved to sit and talk with you, so much that my heart aches at the thought.

    This year I went down by the river on Remembrance Day, just took a little time by myself with your poppy from the ceremony. I thought I had lost it for a bit, was very stressed about that. All good.

    Miss you tons, Dad.

  11. Update for 2019:

    It has been a strange year, and 23 years from when Dad passed. I found it odd this past week I think most of all, simply because I was buying a new car. And when I think of cars, I think of him, and how he would have loved to talk to me about options for the old one.

    Miss you tons.

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