Goodbye Daddy Ashair

April 14, 2011

Earlier this month, I lost someone dear to me – my friend’s father. They moved in across the street from us when I was about 12  – their family  somewhat new to this country (perhaps by less than 10 years). Their young daughter was the same age as I was and we quickly hit it off – as kids so often do, sharing everything from The Beatles, The Bay City Rollers and later – college parties – among other things!

To our great surprise (and perhaps teenage chagrin!) our parents developed a wonderful, warm, close friendship; they even went on holidays together – without us!  Our friendship grew and deepened throughout our teenage years and into young adulthood – when, at some point, our lives took different turns. I moved to the other side of the country for a while then 10 years later came back, married and became a mother – she became a “career woman” as my mother always likes to proudly say, which meant meetings, travel and exciting career challenges.

We pretty much grew up in each other’s homes and over the years it was her Dad that I was particularly close to. I don’t know what it was – we just seemed to  have the right chemistry and we clicked. I adored him – in fact I could never call him “Mr.” He was “Daddy Ashair” to me and he treated me like one of his own kids (which meant I also had to clear the dishes when done eating!). While I hadn’t seen my friend in several years,I had bumped into her Dad from time to time at the grocery store – so in essence I had kept in touch – and of course, my parents had kept up their almost  40 year friendship.

This day – this sad day – I had to be there, at the funeral. For her, for Daddy A. and for myself. As the Rabbi spoke – he described my friend’s father perfectly, beautifully and I was reminded of the many wonderful memories we shared. Although I could see sad faces around me – I didn’t notice an outpouring of tears – but then again, the man had lived to 90 and had enjoyed an incredible life, right up until the end.I don’t know how many people knew the private man that I had known. There I sat, near the back – and while I thought I’d be strong and in control…along came the tears – tears for the times spent playing cards by candle light at the cottage – of shared meals – of me blowing out the Shabbat candles on my first Friday night dinner there…Hey! I didn’t know that they were supposed to burn down on their own. My basically Baptist Grandmother was a lover of all faiths and embraced the Jewish faith with much interest – taking two trips to Israel in the 1970s – she would often light a menorah to help decorate our Christmas dinner table…so – yeah – I blew them out – I thought they were a beautiful decoration….oh – I had much to learn over those years…and I did. We laughed so much, we discussed many issues (whether we kids wanted to or not!) and we ate…we sat around the table for hours, eating, laughing, learning, sharing – but most of all  – loving. I will miss you Daddy Ashair – but I will take your love and your lessons with me throughout the rest of my journey.

 

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