20 years

bear with me as i’ve gone back and forth whether or not to publish this.  but this blog is an attempt to capture the “highlight reel” of our family’s life our history, for my boys to look back and know who our family is.   but our life is more than highlights.  i’m afraid i’ll never be able to share these feeling with them face to face. one day they can read this and hopefully understand.
(me feeding my dad birthday cake)
my dad’s name is david raymond victoria jr. he is a great dad. certainly not perfect, but good in all the right ways.  so many things i inherited from him, dark hair, hazel eyes, left handedness… a love for math and science, music and art.  when i was a child, he loved model trains, and i spent so many weekends with him in his workshop.  i loved legos and he helped me build a city.  he taught me how to swing a bat, and how to multiply.  he could put me in hysterics (laughter) by just poking me with one finger.  he died june 15th 1992. 20 years ago. the day after the chicago bulls won their second championship. i remember because it was late the night before. i almost didn’t say “goodnight” and “i love you” to him. he was getting up the next day to travel to ontario canada; a guys trip to a remote location to fish, and that’s about it.
3 days later we got a visit from the police at our door.  he was missing.  the police told us that the men arrived safely at the destination the day before, and he and a friend got an itching to head out and fish for the afternoon. since the location was remote, local indians were used as guides to help navigate the waterways. none would be available until the next day, but they went out anyway.  as they were trolling the boat turned a corner and soon the rear of the boat where my dad’s friend sat with the motor were now in front, my dad now in back.  soon after they turned they met a waterfall, about 10′ high.  his friend along with the motor fell first and most likely my dad was thrown from the boat into rapids.  they found his body a week after the police first visited us.
the christmas after he died was hard.  our first gift my sister and i opened was from him. my mom didn’t even know about it, until it was delivered some time after his death, before the holidays.  we both got a set of gold plated ornaments, 12, celebrating “the 12 days of christmas”,  to decorate our own trees when we got married.  it was the best and the worst christmas i’d ever have. now there will never be a christmas in my home, where those ornaments won’t be up.
 it’s sad to think it’s been 20 years.  i was 15 when he died.  he’s been dead longer than i’ve known him alive.  i turned into a sentimental fool. i saved everything i could get my hands on.  i won’t let my mom sell his rolltop desk he used to sit at. i saved his address book he used for work, so i would never forget his handwriting. i still have his business cards.  i went to purdue university because he and my mom went and met there.  i struggled (and survived!) through 4 years of civil engineering because i knew it would make him proud.
 i cry when i hear the bob seger (“old time rock’n’roll) song because i know he loved it.  i always hear it, on the 241 tollroad, driving home from either work or my sister’s house. i’m always alone.  i like to think he does that just for me.
 i’m sad he didn’t walk me or my sister down the aisle when we got married, that he left a grieving wife alone to finish off the life they had started together.  that he wasn’t here to see my sons, or my nephews and niece being born.  my oldest son and nephew have “david” for his middle name. he would love my boys, all his grandchildren. they would adore him.   i’m sad i got robbed of so many moments that others got to share with their fathers. but now, so many years later, i can look and appreciate my life. be thankful to God. for the one door he closed, He has opened so many windows.
romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
 he gave me the most amazing mother and sister i needed to grieve with, and hopefully they could say the same for me.  whatever i’ve become because of losing him is worth it. barely.  just like so many who lose a parent, i’d give anything to have him back. i have dreams where he is still alive and i wake up and am crushed.
i can make this anniversary whatever i want it to be, and i choose joy.  tonight i get to dress up and celebrate my sister and her milestone 40th birthday.  i’d like to think my dad will be there too, ready to welcome her “over the hill”.
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14 thoughts on “20 years

  1. Suzie, Thank you for sharing your precious memories and celebrating your wonderful dad -how appropriate with Father’s Day this weekend. I pray your heavenly Father fills your cup with many blessings. Fondly, Jackie

  2. Love you, gurl! One of the fondest memories I have of our dad is his mustache and him wiggling his upper lip at me. Love him!

  3. Susie, my mom forwarded me this link and i’m so grateful she did. what a beautiful tribute to your father, whom i know you loved so much. i remember that day all too well… the moment i heard the terrible news, being stranded so far away from you when i wanted to be beside you so badly, my parents crying on the balcony of our hotel room. we were so young, i know we never knew what to say, but you found such powerful words all these years later. i just want you to know that i love you, always have and always will. blessings on you my dear friend. love, michelle

  4. Susie, the post brought back a lot of memories. i think about your dad often actually. he was equal parts intimidating and focused. intimidating to me probably because he was so focused, on what he valued, his family, his friends, his hobbies and his work. i can’t believe it’s been that long. he would have been proud of what you and Sarah have accomplished. we’re long overdue for a trip out there to see you guys. hopefully we can coordinate something next year.

    • thank you paul! i think he’d be so proud of all of us kids. haha, he intimidated me as well!! i’ll never forget him offering you $100 to take out your earring 😉

  5. This was so moving and sad and heartfelt. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and feelings. Even after 20 years, I am sure it is just as difficult as on day 1. Even though I never knew him, I am certain he would be proud of the person you are today.

  6. Susie, Your Dad’s memory lives on in our house; our main email address is DCR1979. He loved that ’79 Vet. Thank you for sharing your heart. I loved how you ended your reflection by choosing joy. Your Dad would be so very proud of both you and Sarah.
    Love and blessings, Susan & Donald

    • susie, i just read this. your aunt and uncle v and v ain’t real good at forwarding this computer stuff. i wish grandma could read and understand it. i just gave rich one of the victoria& sons pickups that your dad had made. i have the other one here to give to alex. we all miss him. uncle dick

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