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Seeing The Deer

by admin on June 13, 2013


Today would have been my dad’s 69th birthday.

Yesterday was the first anniversary of his death.

Sunday is Father’s Day.

This is officially dad’s week.

I have had a lot of emails, phone calls, messages from people I’m close with and people I hardly know telling me stories of losing their own parents. Not of the actual losing, but of the finding. Finding them in little moments like always noticing when clocks would turn 11:11 because their mother would always say to make a wish when you noticed that. Or, a light flickering off as they made a birthday wish to the sky because they couldn’t make a wish in person…kinda like seeing the deer. For me, that’s how I think of these moments. Seeing the deer. I think I’ve told this story before, but here it is just in case.

I was very close to my grandmother(in case you haven’t read that about me before). When I would go to her tiny home in Swift Current, Saskatchewan to visit her while I was growing up, there was this shelf that took up much of her living room. On that shelf were all the family photographs. The formal wedding portraits, the baby pictures, the favourite images sent from family far and wide. It was a magical spot where you could witness the history of her family in 30 pictures or less. True story…okay, maybe there were more, but I’m gonna guess 30 ;) There were also a few knick knacks scattered amongst the photographs. In particular, there was this set of 3 ceramic deer. They were just always there and I know that all my many cousins and relatives know what I mean about the deer. Well, on the day of Grandma’s funeral in Swift Current, when we went to the graveyard for the graveside services…the yard was filled with deer. Real deer. It stood out as a magical moment on a rather sad and difficult day. It truly felt like she was there waiting for us, telling us that it was okay. It’s going to sound silly, but now from time to time when I see deer I think of her and that she is with me. NOT every time I see deer as I live in Okotoks and there is a town herd that we see ALL. THE. TIME., but sometimes. And, this morning I had an unusual deer sighting. As I was driving down the hill, a deer ran alongside my car. Not in a panicked way as one would expect, but in a peaceful…here I am kind of way. It made me smile and feel that she was here with me in this tough week.

Of course, I know that my dad is here, too. I have had a tough week with a big decision weighing me down and, yesterday I had a moment of clarity as to how we were going to resolve this issue. Yes, it’s not perfect, but it is right. It was like an answer out of the bloom and all of a sudden I felt all right. It wasn’t like seeing the deer, but it was definitely like the clouds parting and a chorus singing ‘hallelujah’ (the Rufus Wainwright version).

This is one of my favourite photographs from my childhood. Almost 39 years ago…Dad and us kids.

Happy Birthday dad :)

~ Dana

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