My father visited us in our cottage in Nova Scotia in about 1998 without my mother. He came with Lindsay, my niece. I have such fond memories of him loping up and down the beach in the morning with his bathrobe flapping in the wind. We sat on a rock together and he said, "I was always on water as a boy." It was his last vacation before he got sick.
After a week, we put him on an early morning plane. At four in the afternoon, my sister, Janie, called and asked, "Where's Dad?"
"We put him on the plane this morning," Tom said.
"He's not on the plane."
A flurry of phone calls followed. What we learned (not from the airline) is that he missed his plane and was taking one in the afternoon. My father was in Boston and didn't make a peep to anyone.
I talked to him the next morning. "Why didn't you call anyone to let us know where you were?"
He said, "I'm in my early eighties. I just wanted to know I could still be alone in a big airport for a day."
I totally understood then and even more now. It's why we made this move. We still can.
Daddy's birthday is tomorrow. He's 100. I miss him more than I can say. He lives in my bones.
Happy Birthday, Daddy. I'd like nothing better than to see you again.