Wednesday, August 14, 2013


It was a difficult time for my Dad in those months after my Mother died and on into the years after. He showed me his journal one day, probably in the summer of 2007. Mom died in late January that year and, in the ensuing years, Ed and I tried to always be in Wisconsin for a few days in April, for his birthday, and then again, during the summer when he enjoyed being outside  in the shade for a meal and conversation.

In his journal Dad had inked, in his precise left-hander's lettering, three letters, ICA. Those letters, ICA, appeared on each entry of the week that he showed me. Sometimes they were in the margin, other times at the end of the entry for the day.

He looked up at me from the journal in his lap. "You know what that means, don't you?" I didn't recognize the acronym, so I waited for him. "It means, 'I cried again.' I put it there each day."

He didn't say much more, but we talked about Mom then. A good talk.

So, today, I'm thinking about Dad's journal and the carefully penned in letters, the ICA letters.

A dream woke me up this morning. It was my first really clear dream about Dad. He was in a plaid flannel shirt, probably in his late eighties, standing slightly bent, but walking with his cane. He looked good. Looking straight at me, he wondered aloud why I was crying.

The dream flew away and I woke up, not crying, but my throat was choked up.

I remember that after my father-in-law died that I would see him occasionally. Once I saw him in the parking lot at the IGA grocery store in Pigeon. Head covered with the white hard hat that he wore constantly, dressed in denim coveralls that he pulled on over khaki pants and a dress shirt, he was climbing into his Ford Ranchero. I would get closer and see that it was someone who looked like Dad and a car that resembled the flattened pickup look of the Rancheros.

I used to see my quilting friend Pauline Maust, too, after she died. I would be doing something at the checkout counter of my quilt shop, Pigeon River Mercantile and Wool Co., in Pigeon, and look up. It would be morning and sun was streaming in from the east through the display windows that faced Main Street. There would be Pauline with a big smile, leaning on the big glass door of the shop, pushing it open, as she had at least once a week during the early years of the shop. Then, another glance, and I would see that it was someone else, pausing to look through windowed door, leaning against the glass.

So today, if I were keeping a journal like my Dad did, I would pencil in, ICA. In the aftermath of the dream, in the remembering, I cried again.

That would be a good thing. It would be a written signal that the days and months are passing.

The grief is working through and there are days when I miss my Dad, but I don't cry.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

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