I have missed Anchor B!! I am coming back to writing on the blog after a long 6 weeks… At the end of March, I had to say goodbye to my dear ol’ dad who had just found out that lymphoma cells had reappeared in his blood after 1 year of remission. We had 3 weeks with him after the news. His health declined incredibly fast, but we are so grateful that the suffering was brief.
This kind of grief is new to me, having never lost a loved one this close. I seem to have slowed down. I have been thinking slower, working slower, moving slower to get to the dishes and the laundry… I’ve been slow at returning phone calls and emails. I realize this has nothing to do with hand lettering, but as my dad was such a big, important part of my life, so is his absence.
For all those of you out there who didn’t know him, I can’t possibly describe how truly wonderful this man was. He had a sweet sweet soul, gentle and gracious. His earnest expressions of gratitude, joy, and surprise brought many smiles and laughter to those around him. His hands would often raise up in elation at the promise of vanilla ice cream, or at the sight of an old friend. I think that something about his emotive expressions made him so innocently lovable. I can hear his laughter in my memory, long and slow, coming from a fantastic smile.
In addition to his famous love of ice-cream, he also loved spending time outdoors. He was an avid paddler, hiker, camper, and cyclist. As a family, we would take routine canoe camping trips down the windy portion of the Potomac known as Paw Paw Bends. As soon as I was old enough to make the slightest contribution to moving the canoe through the water, he crafted for me a custom little ML sized paddle by cutting down an adult paddle. When I outgrew that one, he crafted another. I’m pretty sure my biggest contribution was eating whatever snacks I had picked out from 7 eleven, though I had a mighty pretty paddle to dip in the water here and there. I feel so grateful for those adventures as a young one, and I wish I could dedicate more time to those activities now. R and I have all his camping gear, meticulously labeled and ready to go.
On pretty much every birthday card and father’s day card, for as long as I can remember, I wrote to him that he was the “bestest daddy in the wholest widest world.” And he was. He was incredibly supportive and gentle in his guidance. It seemed like every life choice I made was exciting to him- going to art school, moving to the Virgin Islands, moving to Portland, buying a house in Baltimore…(though he was forever disappointed that I had never been to the Lexington Market or the Baltimore Symphony.) All along the way, he’d write me letters expressing his pride and excitement. He spent a lot of time teaching me crucial life skills. He taught me to ride a bike, drive a car, balance a check book, whistle, how to look words up in the dictionary. He taught me about L.L.Bean and R.E.I. He taught me how to write an efficient grocery list, remove a splinter, and how to tie a Christmas tree on the roof of a car.
He was well loved by his community. He served as Rector of St. Andrew’s Church in College Park, Maryland for more than 20 years, officiated many weddings and funerals, and baptized many babies, and presented weekly sermons to the congregation. His funeral will be held at St. Andrew’s, and his ashes will be entombed in their columbarium in the same courtyard that my parents’ wedding reception was held.
I have been missing him and have much more to share, but for now, I am glad to be back on the blog and have plenty of work to catch up on.
How are you?