Happy Father’s Day 2011

Lion father and lion cub

Happy Father’s Day
Whether your kids are human or furry, enjoy your special day!

My dad passed away seven years ago. I still think about him every day. My relationship with him was complicated at times, but I always knew that he loved me, and I have lots of wonderful memories of him.

His life was shaped to a great extent by his experiences during World War II in Germany, and as a result of experiencing so much loss at such a young age, he held those he loved close to him – at times, too close for a daughter who wanted to spread her wings and fly from the nest!

He instilled in me my love of nature – some of my earliest and fondest memories are of long walks in the woods and parks near our home.  He taught me the names of all the flowers, trees, butterflies and animals we’d encounter on those walks.

He loved the Alps – his happiest times were spent hiking those beautiful mountains.  His love of the Alps dated back to his days as an American POW. When he was first captured, he was held in the basement of a home in Bavaria. Through a small window, he could see the snow covered peaks of the Alps, and he decided then and there that he would climb as many of these mountains as he could once he was free. The dream of one day hiking in those mountains kept him going through those dark days.

He worked hard at a job he didn’t enjoy all that much to provide for my mother and me.  We were by no means rich, but he always made me feel like we were.  He loved to travel, and after taking early retirement, for the next nine years, he and my mother traveled extensively.  He especially enjoyed his travels in the Western part of the United States – every Western movie he’d ever seen came to life for him there.  He would talk about those trips for years to come.

He had a difficult time dealing with my mother’s death, and his life contracted again.  He didn’t enjoy traveling by himself, and other than his annual visit to the United States, he stayed close to home.  When he became ill with prostate cancer six years after my mother died, I wasn’t sure he would want to fight – but he surprised me.  He wanted to live, and he survived.

After the life changing experience of going through cancer treatment, he decided that it was time to make a lifelong dream come true.  He sold his home of forty years almost overnight, and bought a condo in the Black Forest, where he spent the last two years of his life in an environment that he loved.   Having been a life-long worrier all his life, he learned to live in the moment and “appreciate each flower and each butterfly,” as he told me during my last visit with him.  He passed away after a short illness, and knowing how happy he was the last two years of his life was a great comfort to me.

My dad had a long, sometimes difficult, but ultimately good life, and I miss his physical presence in my life every day.  His spirit, however, is never far from me.

Ingrid King with her father

If you still have your father, tell him that you love him today.

Photo of lions: iStockphoto, photo with my Dad taken during my last visit with him in June of 2003

11 Comments on Happy Father’s Day 2011

  1. lyn5
    June 19, 2011 at 8:50 pm (8 years ago)

    I admire your father’s courage to leave his old life and move to the Black Forest; you have that same courage, Ingrid. (I just finished “Buckley’s Story.”)

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm (8 years ago)

      What a lovely thing to say, Lyn – thank you!

      Reply
  2. Deborah
    June 19, 2011 at 5:12 pm (8 years ago)

    What a beautiful story.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 19, 2011 at 8:31 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks, Deborah.

      Reply
  3. Layla Morgan Wilde
    June 19, 2011 at 10:21 am (8 years ago)

    Ingrid, this brought a tear to my eye. Your remarkable dad’s story is an inspiration. No father is perfect, but they all have the ability to help us transform like butterflies. My dad died sixteen years ago and also instilled my deep love of nature and hiking. Every year when Father’s Day rolls around, I feel a little disjointed. There’s no one to buy a card or gift for, to take out for a meal, bake a cake for or hug. So what to do? I go out in nature and commune with him there.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 19, 2011 at 12:34 pm (8 years ago)

      I know what you mean about feeling disjointed on Father’s Day, Layla. Going for a walk is my favorite way to connect with my dad, too. It happens almost every day, even if I’m just walking through my neighborhood: I’ll see some flowers in a yard that I remember him planting in his yard, and I feel him right there with me.

      Reply
  4. Bernadette
    June 19, 2011 at 10:01 am (8 years ago)

    Ingrid, thanks for sharing your story.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm (8 years ago)

      It’s a nice way for me to share him with all of you. He’d probably be a little embarassed by the attention :-).

      Reply
  5. Max the Quilt Cat
    June 19, 2011 at 9:42 am (8 years ago)

    Beautiful post and tribute to your father. Have a good day.

    pawhugs, Max

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm (8 years ago)

      Thanks, Max – you have a great day, too.

      Reply

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