In October 2010 I went for my last hike with my Dad. He had recently been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, so I kind of knew it might be my last. We packed up the kids aged 2 and 5 at the time, along with my siblings and a couple of their spouses and headed for the Short Hills Provincial Park for the day. Along the way my dad and my daughter Hannah found a monarch caterpillar, Hannah wanted to take it home to watch it become a butterfly - like we’d done in our own garden many times, then to release it after its wings dried out. My Dad carried it gently with him for the whole hike. When we got home he helped the kids set up a jar and we supplied it with milkweed and a bottle cap of water for some humidity- just like Dad had taught me when I was little. We watched it for a week or so and the little caterpillar finally spun its cocoon and we waited.
Well, the little caterpillar never came out of that cocoon, it still clings to the branch today. My Dad passed away the next spring, April 3rd. Today, 10 years later I look at this jar and there’s something special that I hold onto, that memory of him frozen in time. Him teaching my kids about loving nature, and learning the incredible truths of God’s creation.
Today, after a whole decade without him, I think of what we’ve all gone through this last year. All I can think of is that we need to hug our loved ones, enjoy every moment of this life with the people we love and care for. Stop wasting precious time. My Dad was only 56 when he died. No one has a guarantee in life, and life is meant for living.
I miss him like it was yesterday.