My Dad passed away last May, and recently I created three versions of this shadow box, using our My Creations Display Tray . . . one each for my brother, my sister, and myself.
Our relationships with our Dad were complicated. None of us kids had the relationship with him we would have liked to have had with a father. But it was what it was – and he was the one who was our Dad. And we were his children.
Grieving the loss of a parent is different for everyone. We didn’t quite know what to expect from this grief. I have been surprised by parts of my grieving. Much of it, I think, has been a grief for what never was; the closeness we never had. I see this closeness between my daughter and my husband – and I am so grateful.
It took me several months to be removed enough from the difficulties of my relationship with my Dad to be in an emotional place where I could tangibly work with some memories. This papercrafting is “what I do,” and it’s often a good way for me to express myself. I thought I’d be ready to do this in time to make these as Christmas gifts, but I wasn’t. I needed a little more time.
Going through old photos, letters, fishing tackle and golf gear . . . they are all parts of him, and the memories they stir are complicated. But that’s okay. Relationships aren’t always what we would hope for. Life isn’t always what we expect. It is what it is.
And now maybe these framed memories will help us, in a small way, to focus on the good. Remember the good son, the hard worker and good provider that he was, the proud sailor and devoted friend. Because the people in our lives are never simply the sum of what was our relationship with them.
Memories are complicated. But they are ours. And they become our stories.