on this day in 1980, my father died. he was only 53 yrs old. he was on take-off on the last leg home to albany ny, on a multi-stop business trip throughout the south and he had a heart attack. the plane turned around, landed in pittsburg and they tried, unsuccessfully, to revive him.
he had traveled a lot through the growing-up years. we hated it when he left and loved it when he came home. he kept in touch with the family when he was gone by phone. he'd call every third day. when we'd answer that highly anticipated call and hear the strange southern accent saying "will you accept a collect call from Raymond Grady?", it was very exciting. we'd all hang by the phone to get a turn to talk to him. i hope he felt the love from us all.
he didn't fly much in the last 10 yrs of his life. he told me that it hurt his ears. he also told me that he had dreams - 13 of them - where he was on a plane and either he was the only one who lived or the only one who died. it freaked him out and i think caused a lot of anxiety. the day he was leaving on the last trip, i asked him why he was flying instead of taking the train as he'd been doing. he said work was pressuring him, and he felt he had no choice. and he added - he had insurance. it was weird at the time and even weirder, thinking back. i think the anxiety caused the heart attack and the whole dream deal became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
but my dad was much more than just this early death. he was a quiet presence in our family. he loved going to the corner store every day, talking to the people who worked there. sometimes he would say crazy stuff, making us all laugh. other times, he was very quiet, watched tv, listened to the police scanner and read a lot of books. i remember that he and my mom hugged alot. my brother was the middle hugger - he'd get in between them - the first of many group hugs :) he loved the pets in the house - the dogs, toodie, princess, taffy - and trouble, the cat. he became quite attached to trouble, surprising us all and himself too.
he loved to dance. he and my mom danced a lot. she missed that when he was gone. i like to think they danced together again, when she reached the other side.
32 yrs since he left. time passing has made it easier but no less of a loss. midway thru the day yesterday, i was sorting out receipts for business trips of my own, trying to do my expense report. as i sifted thru the papers, i came across a pile of pictures. in the middle of the pile was a picture of me with my dad and taffy the dog on our front step. i'm not sure when it was taken - definitely the late 1970s but when exactly i'm not sure...
seeing this picture on June 5 was emotional. i love the smiles. i love everything about it.
it felt like a happy hello and i went back in time to a special place.
16 lanci lane.
a happy place for a happy family.
mom and dad, you created a home filled with love.
each one of us grew up with special love-filled memories.
not everyone is a lucky as us. we knew it then and know it even more now.
thank you for the love you gave, the security you provided, the future you created and a past that means the world to us. you done good :)
you are greatly missed but the love you made is lasting and strong.
i am sure heaven is a better place because you are there, just like 16 lanci lane was. . .
miss you both, love you lots