After he left the service, Dad worked at a few jobs before finding his way back into the sky as a corporate pilot. It was never remarkable to me, as a child, that my dad did something only the best of the superheroes did: he flew. And better still, he taught me how to do so. Well, I held the stick, and made the plane go up and down the tiniest bit, but still... I was flying. I was mighty. Dad made it so.
Y'know, I haven't yet written a real tribute to Dad. I don't know that I'm ready to do so even yet. I know, rationally, this doesn't make me a terrible daughter. Still, I feel as if I ought to have spewed all of my grief and confusion and emptiness onto the page, that a beautifully worded essay ought to spring from my skull with an alacrity that put Athena's birth to shame. It's not there, though. Not yet.
Even so, I want to say this: thank you. A million times over I thank all of you who have written or spoken or even thought words of comfort in this astonishingly difficult time of grief. Thank you for the flowers, for the cards, for the comments on this LJ or elsewhere, for the emails, for the overwhelming love and blessings. It helped; it helps still.
Dad was remembered with military honors today. There was a rifle salute. Taps was played. Mom was presented with the folded flag. And then we all drank and ate and shared stories. There was music. There were tears. There was laughter.
Until I manage to shape the words into my own tribute, I hold this day most dear. Thanks to all who attended, and thanks as well to all whose thoughts bent our way.
And while I mourn the loss of my superhero flying father, he'd be mightily cranky did I not extend that mourning to those whose courage and selflessness have shaped so much of what is good and beautiful and right in this world.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.