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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Ugly Sweater

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This week marks the anniversary of the discovery of my dad's brain tumor 10 years ago. I hope you don't mind a re-post of what I wrote on my personal blog a couple of years back. The song that I mention came on the radio today and I couldn't help but remember.

This is my "ugly sweater". If you are local you may have seen me wear it a time or two. It is very accommodating - I can wear it all the time, pregnant or not (as seen in above photo, taken a couple of years ago). I wonder if people who see me wearing this ask themselves - "Why?"

Well, here's the deal:

This was my Dad's sweater.

When Dad died, this was the only tangible thing of his that I really wanted to have. I have fond memories of his wearing this sweater from the time I was young until the very end of his life. It brings back thoughts of Thanksgiving dinners at Aunt Jan's (who, legend has it, made the sweater for him), snow storms in Iowa and cold mornings in East Carbon. But it mostly reminds me of dancing with my Dad.

As a little girl I would stand on his feet and he would dance around the room with me - music or not. As a teenager we would get crazy dancing to the latest Pet Shop Boys or U2 song as the music video played in the background on MTV. Near the end of his life, as I was helping to care for him, I would take his hands and help him stand from the kitchen table and walk, he moving forwards and I moving backwards, face-to-face, to the couch. As we moved towards the couch like this, he would occasionally stop. I would look at him to see what was the matter, and he would get a twinkle in his eyes and start to sway our hands back and forth then slowly move his feet up and down, still wanting to dance.

Oh, how I miss dancing with Dad.

Yesterday as I was driving around town getting groceries, this song by Luther Vandross came on the radio. I have heard it before, but as it reached the chorus it was especially difficult to hold back tears:

If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him
I'd play a song that would never, ever end
How I'd love, love, love
To dance with my father again.

(Uncle Roy, Dad sporting the sweater, and Aunt Charlotte)

So now if you see me wearing the Ugly Sweater, you'll understand - there's so much more involved than just warmth.

It is a tangible reminder, a feeling of being close to my dad once again.

13 comments:

The Empress said...

How wonderful to have something to wrap yourself in of his. The things people don't know when they see us walking down the street. If only we could have signs.

YogaSavy said...

That is beautiful. I have a Tshirt that a dear friend used to wear. I wear it often.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Glad u find comfort in that sweater.. My girls took a few of their dad's shirts.. My grandma wore my grandpa's sweater vest ... That song brings tears to my eyes... memories certainly do that don't they?

Sue said...

Beautiful.

=)

Richard & Natalie said...

I should have not even put any make up on today; it has all just washed away. This was very touching. Thanks for sharing.

mistyc0x said...

oh there isn't anything better that i can think of than a sweater to keep you in your daddies arms.

a very moving post. thank you.

GaeLynn said...

I eat milk chocolate orange sticks when I think about my dad. We used to give them to him for birthdays, father's day, Christmas, etc, but we would eat more than he did. I think that my father is near when I crave those orange sticks!

Teachinfourth said...

Sometimes, ugly sweaters are the greatest...

Corine said...

That is so sentimental; I totally and completely GET IT. What a totally cool dad you have! ;) I'd treasure and proudly wear that sweatter, too. I have similar treasures.

Linn said...

Beautiful Gerb. I'm so sorry about your dad. It is making me teary just thinking about how much you miss him. I love that you have his sweater.

Gina said...

I don't wonder at all where you came from. Twinkling eyes? Ugly sweaters? Music? Dancing? Even swaying? You got it, girl!

Lori said...

I have not yet lost my father, but that song always gives me chills and tears me up. What a beautiful post, Gerb. I love that you held on to his sweater, and continue find comfort in it.

Gerb said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments. It has been such a comfort to wrap myself in this sweater on the days when I can't stop thinking about him & missing his tangible presence. Your words also bring me comfort - thank you so much.

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