I’m holding my Dad’s diary. It’s really nothing very flash, just a little blue hard covered book. The front of the diary is branded with a corporate logo partially covered by a brightly coloured sticker from his favourite radio station. The year of the diary is 1993. The year Dad died. It still gets me every time I look at it and is to this day, one of my most treasured possessions.
The first half of the diary is filled with dad’s hand-written entries. He kept himself organised and on top of the things that were important in his life. The second half of that little diary is a little more sparse with the entries scattered over the final months of that year.
As a Calligrapher, Dad had a beautiful hand. His writing style was fluid yet playful in the formation and shape of the letters expressing the words he wanted to be remembered. It’s not a personal journal as such, more an appointment diary displaying things such as the names of people he needed to follow-up with a phone call. The date the car was to be serviced and the cost quoted for that service. It also highlighted the times and locations of the lead light classes he was enrolled in and absolutely loved. It noted Mum’s mah-jong days; the U3A scheduled days they enjoyed together; the due date of the phone, electricity and rate bills. Every birthday had been noted. My siblings, the grandkids, even their Son and Daughter in laws birthdays. No one was forgotten in that little diary.
Despite the fact Mum and Dad had retired by then, Dad had kept himself busy and I guess still having a diary showed, some habits die hard when you leave a full and rewarding lifetime career.
But what gets to me is that I can run my fingers over the ink of his words. The words are still there as if they had been written yesterday, not 24 years ago. I can still feel his energy in these pages and sense the diligence in which he had made each of his notation. I can no longer touch or hold my Father, but If I wet my fingers and touched the ink, his words would smudge and fade. They alone still hold that power.
Dad died in the May of that year and no matter how many times he had opened that little diary to make his entries, he would never have foreseen the shock and sadness behind the date: 1st of May 1993. His entries went beyond that date. His life was still being planned and scheduled and his birthday wishes prepped ready to be delivered dutifully and on time.
The power of our written word is simply extraordinary. Our written words will outdate us and they will outlive us. Today is Father’s Day and I find I am holding my father’s words just a little tighter and longer to my heart.
It makes me wonder if we truly think about the power of our own words? The words mindlessly scribbled down on a day to day basis on a notepad, post it note, or diary. These words will be left behind when you’re gone. Your loved ones will find them and when they do, they will feel your presence through them. You will never know which of those written words will bring the greatest comfort. The day will come when the date flips over on the calendar as being your very last.
Why would you not want to leave the words you want to be remembered about you. Use your written words to tell the story of you. The story only you have come to truly know.