December 4th, 2015

It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.
-Anne Sexton-

SoulCollage® cards are sorted into four different suits. I am finding I love making cards for the “community” suit, which is made of cards representing sentient beings in my life, and who is more sentient than my/one’s father?!

The holiday season is an intensely family oriented time, often happy, but often difficult for people. Making a card and journaling with it is a great way to celebrate and/or work through feelings so you can fully celebrate the season.

My father is now 89, living with dementia at St Anne’s, where he is getting fabulous care. I think my “I am one who…” below captures him enough, but thought it would be fun to explain the Santa. Although, we got our share of practical Christmas presents such as underwear and socks and oranges in our stockings, when he could afford more I felt he really wanted to give me what I wanted and I particularly remember getting two gerbils one year and a guitar another! This picture is actually my father dressed as Santa Claus, something he did for three years for the inner-city students I taught in a partial hospital school in Philadelphia. Who knew a man I grew up pretty afraid of would one day be a fun Santa Claus?!!!

Dad

I am the one who

is larger than life

loomed over the ones I loved

was the cause of much fear and unhappiness

and yet there was much joy and laughter too

I am the who

loves his wife and children intensely

loves their beauty, strength and goodness

I am the one who

felt the enormous weight

to prove myself

for everyone to “turn out”

was often mean

and more often sorry

I am the one who

was always ready for the shark to attack

but I was the shark everyone feared

I am the one who

loved my family

and showed it by providing good things for them

and good memories for them

I wanted to be generous,

but was so frugal at the same time

It was confusing

I am the one who

would do anything for my children

Even though they felt fear

they knew I was proud of them

They knew I would do anything for them

I am the one who

didn’t show my gentle side,

unless someone was sick or hurting

then I was surprisingly gentle and supportive

Sometimes Tryg, the dog, was the only one

I could show my gentle side.

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