Today I tried really hard to get out and do some normal life things. Spring, or the beginning of summer, was always Dad’s favourite time of year. Since the warm weather is here for such a short time, I felt obligated to take in the beautiful sunny day.
My Uncle Gord has spent ages moving and organizing the opening of his parents’ home at the Cochrane Ranche, and today was the grand opening of it. I went because I adore Uncle Gord, and because I really wanted to go out and be normal. Which I was… And I wasn’t.
There was a lot of extended family, so on top of Uncle Gord leaving the front to come and hug me and squish up my face (have I mentioned I adore him? Nobody else would ever get away with that), I had family coming up and hugging me and giving me love.
Which was nice, and also not nice. Nice because I am so blessed to be back in my tribe with people who know and love me. Not nice because it makes this whole death thing more real.
I had a lovely conversation with two cousins who shared their happy memories of canoeing with Dad. The love and the sadness on their faces was so deep.
I was quietly shadowed by another cousin. I’d think she’d gone somewhere and she’s appear and squeeze my shoulder and say I was doing a good job. Any time someone new came to talk to me she’d reappear and make sure I was ok.
Talk about having my back. She’s always someone I want in my corner anyway.
After I left the opening I had to drive into Calgary. As I reached the top of Cochrane Hill I had the strong impulse to turn off to Glenbow Ranch. Dad always loved walking there and looking at the wildflowers.
In fact wildflowers were kind of Dad’s thing. From the time I was little, he’d take me out into the field and teach me the names of all the flowers. And he really knew them all too. We had little flower books and my sister and I would write down where and when we saw them.
As time went on, Dad expanded from just teaching us the flowers, to our cousins, and eventually Mom and Dad’s friends. Dad would take a group of friends out on big long wildflower walks and tell them all about the flowers.
All spring we scoured the field outside their house looking for a crocus – the sure sign of spring. There was never one to be found this year. Once I was at Glenbow Ranch, I decided to go walk the flower trail I had walked with Dad last summer in hopes of maybe seeing a crocus. Nope, but I came across something else
A lady slipper
The park was busy, there were people on all the other paths. But for a few minutes I was the only person standing in this secret flower spot. It was the exact place I had stood last summer with Dad looking at Wood Lillies – my favourite flower.
For just a few moments I felt him standing there with me on that ridge looking at the flowers. My happiness moment of the day.