Remembering dad, Christmas gifts for men and imagining the perfect haircut.
Three Things this week and a poem that's a good hurt
This weekend marks two years since we lost my dad. So I thought I’d share three things—one directly and two things from my week, unintentionally—that reminded me of him.
Thanks for spending part of your weekend with Things I Wrote Down.
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1 . Remembering Nicolaas.
He was a sweet man, my dad. I miss watching him snack, standing on tiptoes beside him for photos to compete for height, his uncomplicated kindness. It still hurts, two years later. A loss that cannot be measured. And that double-sided coin of gratitude and grief is still real. I’m grateful there are so many happy memories.
I had the honour of writing his eulogy and I’m sharing it today to remember him and invite you to read it to get a glimpse of his life.
Christmas gifts for men.
I’m at that age where I’m impossible to shop for and the simple things give me joy. I’ve inherited that from Nick.
In years past, my brothers and I would race to be the first to purchase the Toblerone or the socks for my dad, who never had a wish list (as far as I know). But the Toblerone made him happy. One year I bought dad a garbage can, and he was grateful. Yes. A g.a.r.b.a.g.e. c.a.n. (it was ingenuous in its practicality and utility, easily installed into the kitchen door with a storage area for grocery bags). A garbage can, for Christmas. Talk about desperation.
Each year, my mother-in-law asks for a Christmas list. She likes to spoil her family. It’s a fun tradition to open the gifts together. And each year I never know what I want or need (a sign that I truly lack for nothing). So I google “Best gifts for men for [Year].” And I’m never disappointed.
3. Finding the perfect haircut.
If you read that eulogy, or knew Nick, you may be familiar with his series of terrible haircuts that turned into epic stories. Like the time, mid-cut, he asked the hairdresser if she liked her job and she confessed to him that she just hated it. And longed to be a veterinarian.
I have concerns I’ve inherited this trait as well and have a string of stories of my own that rival his, including a surreal cut at a kid’s place that I mistook as a barbershop when I booked but followed through with nonetheless. I need a new barber.
What is the perfect haircut for a man? I’ve been searching. What cut do you like best, and more importantly, should I try it?
As we enter the Christmas season, maybe you have the smorgasbord of feelings, among them the pangs of grief amidst goodness and joy.
Today I'm sharing the poem All this, too, is grief.
If you relate: I see you.
All this, too, is grief
I have screamed with my head
driving alone at high speed
Stared blankly at the
page blankly at the open
sky blinked as
Heaven seemed to blink
back in mutual, respectful
I’ve held my head
high held others
up put my hand in the
hand of another to hold
Coiled arms around my stomach as
my insides burn, left
I’ve laid awake
in bed empty like the husk of a
void of coherent thought all
through the night
Imagined a solitary crystal
tear so exquisite and
strangers want to lick it
off my skin as it rolls
down my cheek
I have glimpsed you at a
distance in airports
on escalators only for you to
suddenly morph into
strangers who wear
blue coats, buttoned shirts
I’ve been turned and
heaved in moments
spun like a feather
in the wind