8.31.2009

garage



it was a day just like today. sunny. fall-like with a crisp coolness, but still warm from the sun. blue. so strangely, intensely blue in the sunniest sky sort of way. and so ironically, because it was one of the saddest days of my life. i take that back. it absolutely was the saddest day of my life.


it was a day just like today. three years ago today, after closing his eyes to sleep the night before, my papa's life in this world ended in the early morning hours of his slumber. i think i may have grieved fully by now. maybe not. i don't know how these things work. i just know that i don't cry as much as i did this time last year, and even less than two years ago. certainly so much less then august 31st of 2006.


now i think about him often, but cry less. i like to write about him on his birthday or father's day {which happen to be close together}. but it's the day of his death that i am most pensive and outward with my thoughts. i share them, because i know when he died, it helped me to read others' thoughts about losing the ones they love. so i do it too.


today was the last dvd in the jazz series. we did not plan it that way—it just happened that way, but i don't think it is an accident. i've thought of my dad the whole way through the series, of course. every time a familiar piece was played that my dad had listened to a thousand times, i could not help but remember what it was like to grow up with him around—always playing his jazz.


but today's viewing was the one that got me. i cried. the film in its entirety had covered all the greats of jazz—from the turn of the century to modern times. but in the last dvd, ken burns paid great tribute to two of the greatest figures of jazz—louis armstrong and duke ellington. they both died in their 70s. like my dad. they were both amazing and talented. like my dad.


learning about louis was a treat—he was similar to my dad in a way—very light-hearted about life. always enjoying it. always getting out of it the very most and the very best that he could. like ellington, my dad was very handsome. he could be dressed in his carpentry attire, all messy and rugged, or in a suit for church. he looked handsome either way.


anyway, i cried at only one other dvd during this series—the first one. almost as soon as we pushed play. {this was over a month ago.} i heard the jazz, and i immediately thought of papa. not just thought of him, but felt like i was still with him—like he was still with me. since he's been gone, there are two things that do that to me more than anything else. the sound of jazz and the smell of sawdust. {he was a carpenter, you see.}


so it was at that moment, as well, that i had an idea to create a blog for my family and me—a place to write about my dad. about ourselves or about our family in relation to how he affected our lives. a place to share memories of him. a place to continue grieving, but more than that, to celebrate him. so i called my twin sister angela right away and asked her to take a photo for the banner. she had one that was very fitting already, so i used that. it's a beautiful photo of some nails and screws in jars—just the kind of thing my dad always had lining the walls and tables of his garage or workshop.


that is the reason i posted these photos today. they are from my garage, not his. the things i photographed in them are not his. they are not even mine. they came with the garage. they are old. but i thought they were beautiful. even while i was taking them, i did not think of my dad. i had not gone out to the garage to take these with this post in mind. i just thought they would be something intersting and new to photograph for a change. it was after i started writing this post and wondering what photos to use with it, that i decided to use them. i took them a couple of weeks ago, and thought about posting them earlier, but just never did. and i'm so glad, because i could not think of better photos for today. again, i don't think this was an accident.


my dad was always in the garage. he was always "cooking up" something. planning some type of renovation for the house. making some piece of furniture for my mom. creating and building a lamp that he designed. sawing on his electric saw {which is the audible memory-triggering equivalent to the smell of sawdust for me}.


so back to what i was saying about the blog. it is called sawdust and jazz for the reasons mentioned above. i plan to have some jazz music always playing there. maybe some audio clips from his memorial service or from recordings of him playing the trumpet. i don't know. there's no format to follow. it's just for family and even friends to go and think about, talk about, write about this man. i don't even know if the rest of my family will join in, but it's there if they want to.


i didn't know if i should make it a private blog or not. then one day i decided i would not. even if a complete stranger happens upon it, there is a chance they could be blessed by this man and what he stood for. by the things that will come out in the stories and memories shared there. so although i will not have the blog listed on my profile page, it is out there for anyone to look at. i even invite you to visit {here}. i don't expect anyone to follow it daily or anything. i just hope that it can be a sort of extension of his memorial. and a tribute to him. i hope that friends and family will be blessed by it.


there's not much there yet. today is when i "launch" it and invite my family to participate. so, right now i have just posted some photos that my friend mary took of all of us at his memorial service. in the photos, we are all singing the hymn, great is thy faithfulness, in front of the hundreds of people who came to remember my dad. this hymn was always sung at holidays, or other family gatherings. weddings. church services. even dinner-time. we always sang it together, so it sort of became known as our song.


if you have read this long post, i thank you. that means a lot to me. i'd give anything to tell my father many things today. but i can't. so i celebrate him instead. and i wanted to share it with you all—my blog friends. it's a beautiful day.


it was a day just like today.

27 comments:

Dani said...

i'm glad you're going to share your dad with us. and are thinking of him today. my thoughts are with you! (;

Steve Gravano said...

Hey blogger friend my thoughts are with you today. Thanks for sharing you dad with us; it sounds like he was one awesome man. Sawdust and Jazz and today's post here are both beautiful.

Alicia said...

It's amazing how your love for your father shines through your words... It always does in the words you write. And what a beautiful idea to create a space to honor him. I hope your family is inspired to share with you, to remember and celebrate. Thank you for sharing him with us also. Thinking of you and your family today as you remember and celebrate your father.

Alicia said...

P.S. Sawdust and Jazz is a beautiful place dedicated to your father. I just got back from reading your post. Love the photos and info shared on the side bar. Perfect idea Georgia!

Char said...

beautiful tribute - you know I was a daddy's girl too. i am sure he is smiling on you.

((hugs))

the weathered wood shot is just stunning.

beth said...

thanks for sharing your dad with us today... those memories of him will always make your heart swell when you think of him !!!

and a man and his garage...my dad's the same way !

your shots are fabulous !!

((hugs)) to you !!

elk said...

sigh...this is beautiful the images so deep...my mom is gone 7 years this week...

Jamie said...

Hugs, G. Thanks for sharing your story. My mother-in law passed away a year ago and I got my toenails painted today the same color as the roses at her funeral - the same color I wore to her funeral. It's not the same thing - i know this - but i understand what you mean - how today is a beautiful day.

Amy said...

What a wonderful tribute to your dad, Georgia! I remember him only vaguely, but as a remarkably happy man (with a beautiful family!) I know how these days feel, and I know how even the passing of time feels (sometimes like a relief, and sometimes like a thief stealing away the crispness of my memories).

Until you see him again -

may all blessings from above fall on you and yours.

Rochelle said...

ohhhh sweetie...it brought tears to my eyes as i read this post. i remember you on that very difficult, incredibly sad day for you 3 years ago. i remember we had just finished grieving the loss of Tim's dad...and you'd been so kind to me thru all that...and then came your news and we were all so broken for you. i remember so badly wanting to know how to console you or to find some way to do something...but i kept coming up empty except knowing to just pray and lift you up to our Heavenly Father. i knew freshly from my own grief that there's not much you can do. i'm so sorry for this sad day for you 3 years ago, but i pray that you will continue to remember him with love & joy...and know that he's at peace. saw the new blog... beautiful. {{hugs my friend}}

spread your wings said...

such a beautiful tribute to your father. thanks so much for sharing - the warmth here is touching.
and there is warmth in your photos - so rich with memory.

apriliniowa said...

I was, as before, caught up in the tenderness of your love for your pops, Georgia. That blog title, alone, says much. The smell of metal and sweat will always remind me of my dad because he was a welder. Scents carry more memory for me than anything else. The sound of jazz (especially of Ellington) paired with sawdust is a fine tribute. Keep a stiff upper life today. Those photographs of your family singing deserve it. Much love to you and yours. And I'm always wishing you well. Kiddo with a K. :)

apriliniowa said...

p.s. these shots are grey and perfect. love them. thoughts of you going on and on... :)

Chris Greene said...

Even though I didn't know him, never met him, talked with him or shook his hand, I know was an amazing man. His legacy lives on in you and the love you hold in your heart, and that love shines through here. Your blog memorial is yet another testament to the man he was, and the woman you are.

So even though I didn't have the pleasure to know your papa, I grieve with you at this anniversary of his passing. But also celebrate with you because of where he is now. He's playing his jazz for his Savior, and what an amazing thing that must be! And all those things you want to say to him, you will. :-)

Praise God for your papa!

Hi Kooky said...

What a beautiful post. Everyone should be so blessed to have such a great father. My thoughts are with you. I'll take a look at the other blog...

Lisa said...

awww, miss georgia. this is lovely. i cannot even imagine. it is good that you can remember him. he seems like he was a wonderful man. and your memorial blog for him is beautiful. i love it.

:) you've brought me close to tears today. in a good way, you know.

Kristin said...

I'm so sorry. But it's lovely that you are celebrating him!

DesBisoux said...

beautiful post.beautiful shots. the way i see it is that the best way to honour our lost ones is to fill our life with beautiful people and things.
xxx

e.o.w. said...

big hug Georgia! I'll be checking this out when I have more time... "The sound of jazz, the smell of sawdust"--such vivid images flash through my mind... I love this series of photos. And your words reveal and inspire. Blessings,
Elizabeth

Claire said...

i cry with you. i laugh with you. i remember with you. i long with you. i hope for eternity with you my g...

Anonymous said...

Georgia, I had no idea your dad had passed away. I am so sorry. I am in the same "boat", if you will, and it's not always smooth sailing. My father passed away in 1999, and my mom in 2006. For some reason, this past few months has been especially difficult. I really miss them.

I am so glad you are sharing your feelings privately as well as publicly. ...This is my opinion, of course, but I think society trains us to keep our sorrow to ourselves; after all, we shouldn't impose our sadness on others. We don't want to make someone else feel sad or bad or, heaven forbid, uncomfortable!

I just talked to a friend who lost her grandfather, and she is devastated. She shared with me that her mother told her not to cry in front of her own children; that they need to see her strong, not grieving. I told her that her children need to see their mom grieve! If they don't observe healthy grief, they will never know it's okay to break down, to be a sobbing, crying, blubbering mess!

All that to say I think the public blog is a great idea. It honors your dad, and I do think many people will benefit from the knowledge that they are not alone in their grief, even if their "kindred spirit" is someone they've never met.

...After all, grief is cyclical- It never "ends", it just cycles through seasons, just as our seasons of Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall cycle through year after year. The grieving seasons are always there on some level, and it helps to share it with others.

Thank you for allowing me to share, Georgia. I appreciate your tender heart. It really is beautiful.

Roland said...

A beautiful, wonderful tribute.
My Dad is still alive at 95, and the older he gets the harder it is to avoid thinking about--yet still hard to imagine--what it will be like when he's gone.
Your words in this post are highly personal, yet also universal in the way a poem is universal.
Your tribute blog is a work of art.
I also love jazz, and find that every jazz masterpiece can evoke personal images, memories and feelings.
Thank you for this post.

Aafrica said...

i feel such an intruder to happen upon this post. you are courageous to share with us thoughts so tender. thank you for that. the pictures are mesmerizing.

ols1 said...

I found it therapeutic to write about my dad and your post was thoughtfully written about your dad. I think you are right - the tears to become less - but the memories don'. Writing about your dad keeps his memories alive. God bless.

Chris said...

I'm sorry I didn't read this sooner, Georgia. I have been having a rough week physically, and just not getting around to doing as much blogging as I'd like.

This is a wonderful tribute to your dad, and I love the photos. And I'm glad you made the blog public. I like to read about your dad and his family/friends, and learn what a great man he was. It's a beautiful space and one that he would have been proud of.

Meri said...

Oh sweetness. On so many levels. My heart is holding your heart's hand.

Liss said...

Georgia, I feel you pain my day has been gone for 8 years next month and there are still nights I cry myself to sleep. He was taken far to early and so young from us.

I think then new blog is a wonderful way of helping your family express their sorrow and found memories.