There are many occurrences in our day to day lives that go unnoticed,
but there is one which will remain clear in my mind for the rest of my
life, and I would love to share it with you, as a Christmas story.
Throughout much of 1996 and 1997 I was forced to watch helplessly as
Parkinson's disease claimed my father. It is a horrible disease which
strips its' victims of their dignity, but not their will to live.
My father had not lived an easy life, but he never complained or tried
to lay blame elsewhere. He was a warm and loving father and husband who
would spend many hours of every day working on our farm, but each fall he
loved to take a breather and enjoy his favorite sport, hunting. It was
like he was totally transformed when hunting season opened. It was his
holiday and you could see how much he loved to get out with some of his
friends or my brothers for a few days away from the daily demands of
farmlife. He was always happy if lady luck smiled on him and he were able
to bring home a nice deer, but it was just the release that brought out
that special something in him at that time of year.
Then as he got older and hunting became too hard for him he would
spend hours going for drives in the evening just to see if he could catch
a glimpse of some deer. He loved to sit and watch them graze and see if
there may be a fawn appear with the doe.
Towards the end, he was confined to hospital for a long time and there
were days when he would simply lay there looking out the window towards the
hills, and you could see a tear trickle from his eye. I often thought that
he must just be wishing he could be out there again, but it was not to be.
He passed away on October 22, 1997, and just before he died he looked
directly at me and with a final effort said, "I'll see you."
My father and I had always been especially close, and it was so hard
for me to accept he was finally gone. The thought of getting life back to
normal just didn't seem possible. Then before we knew it, it was time to
begin preparations for Christmas. That winter proved to be a harsh one and
we were buried under mounds of snow. Time slipped away and when Christmas
day arrived a storm made travel very difficult and we decided to stay home.
All day I kept busy with preparations, and by early afternoon the
storm seemed to subside. Just before supper the sky cleared, the wind died
down, and everything was so still.
Then, just as I was about to call everyone to sit in to the table, I
looked out our big living room window. I was nearly blinded by the
brilliance of the sunset on the fresh snow, but out of the corner of my eye
I saw some movement. It was a beautiful whitetail doe, and she seemed to
have her mind set or at least her eye set on something. She had her head
held high, and she jumped the fence and plunged through the heavy
snowdrifts heading directly towards the house. I called for everyone to
come and see her. She didn't stop until she was right up to the window.
We all stood side by side at the window looking face to face at her only
three feet away. Then she took a step to the right and it was like she was
staring straight into my eyes. In that instant, and I do not know why, it
was like my mind was bombarded with this intense image of my father saying
"I'll see you."
We stood there in such close contact with this beautiful creature for
several minutes, and then she just slowly turned and went back the way she
No one will ever know why she paid us that special visit, but in my
heart and in my mind I will never forget the impact it had on me, because I
had been wishing all day that my Father were with us.
It will remain a cherished memory for me throughout my life, a
wonderful Christmas gift.