Monday, December 31, 2007

Tribute to Dad

In 1995 Sean and I visited my Dad in the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia where he lived at the time. He and I went ice skating together at the Stone Mountain Ice Skating Rink where he was volunteering as a rink guard. The ice was almost empty and at age 70 we did our usual trick, a shoot-the-duck for the last time together.

We did ice skate one more time together when he last visited his family up north, but I had to tie his skates, as he was by then suffering from profound Alzheimer’s dementia. He complemented me on the job I did and I told him I was trained by the best. He laughed.

He had skated all his life. When he was a little kid he skated with a circus in Austria. He used to do a shoot-the-duck through the legs of the clowns. He came to New York City and was a skate guard at Rockefeller Center, lived in Lake Placid and skated with many athletes and stars. He taught skating for nothing and for classes for years. He was extremely generous with his gift. He met my mother on the ice in Central Park. When I was a kid, we used to skate every winter weekend as a family. Dad taught me to skate.

So when I visited Lake Placid and skated for the first time since he died in 1998 of pancreatic cancer and since my brain surgery in 1999, it was exhilarating and somber at the same time. I laughed and cried while on the ice. I sped around the ice feeling shaky both physically and emotionally, and trying to find my inner balance. Sean snapped photos. I dared not try any tricks. I felt so alone. Yet, I could feel my Dad watching with approval. “There is my little girl”, he was saying, “on the ice. See her skate! Watch her go! So brave after her surgery! She is alive and still skating! What a survivor!”

That is what he would have wanted for me. To keep going in spite of the adversity that life deals us. He was that way too. A survivor. Just keep going around that ice, no matter what happens, we are each of us alive today.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

9 comments:

Doug said...

What a wonderful post, Sue! A sweet tribute to your dad and an inspiration to get back up when life knocks you down. Happy new year!

thonnibg said...

A great post indeed,Sue.Your father seemed to be an amazing person!!!

Happy new year to our Survivor!

Cristiano Mancini said...

...I have tears in my eyes : you are a true inspiration , Sue ! People like you are living example of the amazing power of the human nature .Thank you for sharing your story..if you give a second look at that picture...your father is still there...next to you !
Happy New Year ! Love

peter said...

As long as you're around he'll watch over you. Have a great 2008!

And thanks for all the joy you're bringing me with your blog.

Love,
Peter

Sue said...

Thank you guys!

Dennis said...

A little late, but this is such a beautiful post. I can feel the love between you and your father.

Sue said...

Thanks Dennis!

about a boy said...

wonderful. and happy new year to you!

Sue said...

Thanks Chris!