I guess everyone deals with anniversaries of death in different ways and I suspect that for most people the number of anniversaries that truly penetrate the heart is very limited.
My father’s anniversary is one of those which has huge significance for me. He died on September 10th, 2010 and yesterday all I wanted to do was to feel as close as I possibly could to him. I’d done all in my power to keep the day as clear as I could but I had no specific plans for what I’d do.
It proved to be one of the most beautiful days of the year here in Co. Waterford with the gentlest light you could possibly imagine. It’s always been important to me to be somewhere that he and I loved at 10.57 a.m. the time he died (and also my birth date, something that he would have pounced on with his fascination for numbers.)
I just sat into the car and let instinct drive. At 10.57, I was walking Kilfarrassy Beach ~ a beach where we spent so much time as kids and where Dad and I whiled away many hours chatting and watching the waves in the final years of his long life.
It never occurred to me on September 10, 2010 that the natural world, which Dad loved so much, could possibly be bursting with colour, vibrancy and continuity. Nor did I envisage that a time could ever come when I would stand in the presence of nature on his anniversary and feel a true sense of celebration ~ celebration of a life well spent, a father/daughter relationship filled with trust, empathy, fun, shared interests and unconditional love.
Instinct drove me out along the Copper Coast, into the picturesque village of Kill with its aptly named, Happy Days, shop where I bought a picnic lunch that had to include a Waterford ‘blaa’ (type of bread roll) and a little Cadbury’s snack bar like the ones Dad always seemed to have hidden away, just in case!
Onwards to Mount Congreve Garden which was like The Garden of Eden.
Yes, ‘Light and shade by turn but love always.’
And how better to round off the day than with a swim at sundown at Garrarus Beach with son, Harry, who seems to have inherited many of Dad’s traits, especially his passion for nature, sport and his hearty laugh.