|FIRST VISIT TO MY FATHER'S GRAVE 2013. My father's death rocked my world. Our relationship was a difficult but profound one. I was called "The Apple of His Eye," and therein lies the difficulty. A man who participated in 3 major wars--World War II, Korean Conflict, and Vietnam War--my father had seen and been involved with horrors that could not be discussed but haunted him nonetheless. As a child, I was his sidekick, the one most like him. In my young adult years, I spent many hours at the kitchen table with him where he plotted out which roses and camellias to buy for his extensive garden, and later, when his interest turned to refurbishing and collecting guns. We did not see eye-to-eye on many things, which caused great conflict in our relationship. His death left me with many unresolved issues. The night before he died, however, I slept beside him in a recliner next to his hospital bed, cradling my still smaller hand in his larger comforting one. The next evening after he took in his last breath and the rest of my family departed, my mother and I left his side only when the minister told us it was time to go. That was my final contact with my father. A little more than 24 hours prior to that, he had looked me in the eyes and used hand signals to tell me that he loved me, a ventilator preventing him from speaking. In the arena of such loss, it was inevitable that family conflict ensued which along with my own grieving prevented me from attending my father's funeral and from visiting his grave for 10 years. This photo was taken in October 2013 (see this blog for context of the visit) (photo by Tony Martin)|
|THE HERO. During my growing up days, my father would often be invited to be part of a parade or to go to a presidential inauguration party. Here he is in May 1963 participating in an Armed Forces Day Parade. (photo by U.S. Army)|
|DAD fixing my car.|
Funny in this long decade since his death, I am experiencing a limited number of stories to tell and photographs to use to discuss my FATHER's spirit. Just now, when I was linking to previous blogs about my FATHER, I see I have used some of the the same photos before.
It may seem obvious to say this, but once a person is deceased, there are no new meaningful photos of them. While there may be no more "new" photos that can help me express my FATHER, I do think there may be many more stories to collect and tell. Yet, I don't think I am the one to honor my FATHER in this way. Besides, when he was given the opportunity to have a book or movie made about his life when he was alive, he declined.
Dad had always wanted me to achieve and excel. And, I had in my own way before his death, but I had never married nor had any children which gave my successes tarnished edges to my FATHER. At the time of his death, he was happy to know that Tony and I were engaged. He and my mother had been married almost 50 years when he died.
As Tony and I get ready to celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary this December, I am glad to have the love of a good husband. I have been given the greatest opportunity to have a marvelous life with a gentle, smart, and funny human being.
Perhaps, it is because of this loving relationship that I have with Tony, that I want to claim my FATHER--now more than ever before--as just a man. I want to put the COLONEL and the WAR HERO to rest and in the ongoing years get to know the spirit of Edward R. Schowalter or Ned as he was nicknamed, but I rarely heard him called. Ned.
|FLOWERS FOR NED. Taken in October 2013 at Ft. Benning, Georgia, where my FATHER is buried. (photo by Tony Martin)|