It’s been over half a year now and though the tears have stopped, but there is still a void in my life. It is only natural that one’s parents pre-decease them, and to be expected. I just was not expecting my paternal figure to go so fast. In many ways he had given up the will to live when his brother died 5 years ago. With all of his immediate family (other than his sprogs and wife) dead he himself was feeling his mortality. He started to talk about how all his friends are dying off, and it’s lonely being old.
My dad had cancer, which was to have been eradicated with a course of chemo. But he didn’t finish the chemo, he stopped it deciding that it was better off to live as he is instead of trying to have poisons pumped into his body. I still firmly believe that if he had finished his chemo and had done his follow-up appointments he would still be here with us today – harrassing me, teasing me, sharing his love of history.
My father and I never got along when I was growing up – we kept butting heads, both our egos and personalities too strong to be in the same household. Our relationship improved greatly when I moved out. And five years ago it reached its pinnacle of perfection when I, of my own volition, visited Lithuania for the first time in 2005. My father always hated travelling alone, so my brother joined him on a few trips but it was always my father funding the trips. But here was one of his sprogs who wanted to go, who paid out of her own pocket, and who wanted to travel about the place to soak up as much as possible the culture, traditions, history and nature. In 2005 he was not that spry, but spry enough, and he took great pleasure in showing me about Vilnius and talking about his childhood; he even pulled out a map of the country, to reminisce about his boyhood before the tanks rolled in. It also thrilled him to bits that I had wanted to hold an LBW in Lithuania – to bring geeks who had never been to the country, to show them the beauty & delights.
His last trip to LT was last summer. He made the trip on his own, instead of taking someone with him, knowing that I would be there when he landed. I too wanted to visit LT, and took along my good friend Geeklawyer. As I have blogged before in the past, my father and I didn’t do anything special – no concerts, no special performances, no special side trips. We spent one afternoon just wandering about the Old Town and having lunch. Another day it was me showing up at my Uncle & Aunt’s flat (Algirdas ir Emilija) early in the morning, so we could just bum around and have brunch together. And our final activity together was my last evening in LT, visiting my aunt Irena – and just chatting away with her, my father, and my cousin Remigijus. It’s the little things like that which stay with you – not the big gestures, the little things.
I miss my father – no longer is there this force of nature in my life, this man who had lived through Soviet Occupation, lived in a Displaced Person’s Camp and emigrated to Australia when he was only 16 and eventually making it to Canada. A many with a vivid imagination, wicked sense of humour and a deep & abiding love for his fatherland.