(About a year later I’m back. I suppose it’s this time of the year when these thoughts are so much more present.)

After 1 or 2 luxurious hours of sleep I woke up to my first day without a father. A strange feeling – constant, but also hard to grasp – spent the day with me.

A lot needed to be done during this day. Lots of packing since the house had to be put up for sale. No more would there be a childhood home to return to.

Cleaning out the garage was the worst thing we had to do, my brothers and I. Here, dad had built so much – the hobbyhorses for me and my sister, the dollhouse for my sister, among so many other things. As children my sister and I played endless hours with these items in particular – the hobbyhorses were so well exercised that during a couple of summers, a “riding” track was visible on our front lawn.

And then there was also the miniature railroad my father started building when my older brothers were small and that he had still wanted to finish eventually. Eventually never came. This object was too large for anyone of us to bring home, so it was picked apart instead.

There are so many things to deal with once somebody dies. What do you even do with all the stuff the person left behind? What use a book in Finnish would have to me, a language I don’t understand, doesn’t make much sense but it felt important to keep some of his things around. Little pieces of what once had been his life felt so valuable. Some years later I did throw it away, I guess it had served its purpose by then.

I’m still keeping his shirt around though, the one he forgot at my place during his last visit – I did not discover that shirt until some months after his passing. The feeling when I found it. First not recognizing or understanding, then seeing the little hole in the fabric right by the shoulder, remembering how mum had commented on how he hadn’t so far agreed on her sewing it… That feeling. More things still remaining in my home are his reading glasses, and the final Christmas gift I bought for him that I had wrapped up but not yet sent out before it was too late.

On that first day of not having a father, a phone call came to the childhood home. The autopsy of our father’s body was performed. The cause of death was a heart attack. The irony. My father always had the kindest heart.

In front of our house, on the cold winter day of December 9th, my brothers smashed the bed in which our father died to pieces.