Returning to my childhood home now brings back a flood of emotion. One of my earliest memories in life took place just beyond the perimeter of backyard that my bedroom window overlooks. I may have been three or four-years-old; the exact epoch of childhood remains hazy but the magic of the moment does not. I recall it being winter – a Winnipeg winter – and I was playing in the snow with my father all bundled up in layers, ski-pants, toque and mitts. Throwing snowballs into the air, I marvelled as one seemed to disappear into the cosmos.
"Daddy! I threw one all the way into space!!!"
Not missing a beat, my father assured me: "I bet it went all the way to Saturn."
It's hard not having this person in my life. This beacon of support. This rock. My father was a gold-standard individual. The older one gets, the more one realizes that people like this are few and very far between. In grade 9, I told my dad I wanted to study Philosophy. I was very serious even though the only enigma I truly wished to find explanation for was why high school sucked so bad. He told me to take classes that would aid in getting accepted into university when I was ready. Nearing graduation, I presented my father with an even more absurd career goal: I wanted to be an artist. Again, not missing a beat or expressing any sort of concern at the probability of me living on social assistance for the rest of my life (or worse, living at home until I was 50), he not only supported me emotionally but financially as I worked towards my goal. He believed in supporting people's dreams.
They say grief gets easier as time goes on but that is a lie. It gets harder before it gets better.
Christmas is approaching and while I am not looking forward to that, I lament ringing in the new year even more. My father's name is now forever tied with this year: Brian Donald Clague, 1950 - 2014. I've been telling myself a lie for the last five months that he is still here, somewhere, and the obituary confirms that. When the clock rings in midnight on January 1, 2015, I fear I won't even have that fallacy to cling to.