Michael Ellis Kincaid: 10 Years Gone...
....But not forgotten. I swear it only feels like yesterday that my dad Michael Kincaid passed away after a very long line of illnesses. I feel like time just leaped into the future so quickly. So much has happened since he moved on. The twins arrived, all of his grandchildren have blossomed considerably, overcoming many challenges. His children themselves have gone through many ups and downs over the last decade, but we’ve all paved our paths with our own families. Great paths aside, I think we all miss him greatly and reflect on his passing on a daily basis just like our mother.
I’ve been reflecting on the day he died for over six years after he passed. Through therapy, I was able to come to terms with that day and the choices I had made leading up to it. For the past four years, For the last four years, my mind has been more focused on the moments and stories. I started to write down some of those childhood stories that he shared, along with some of my memories. A lot of these memories pop in and out of my dreams from time to time.
One common memory that seems to pop into my dreams more and more these days are those drives hunting up north with him, my brother, grandfather and his siblings and father. I remember either my first hunting trip or subsequent one that included my father, grandfather and a day or overnight visit by my great grandfather. We were driving up to a ridge, and my Great Grandfather wanted me to ride up in the truck cab, and he and Grandpa started sharing stories about when they were young and driving with his dad back when he was younger. There was even a story about his mother Dora Hibbs; sadly I can't remember the details of that story.
I was lucky enough to make these trips for several years, but when I reached my teens, those trips started to skip a year or two. By 16 I was too busy with swimming to leave. I experienced so many great adventures with my dad and brother on those trips. One prominent memory was the year we drove up late after I finished swim practice and got lost in a storm and couldn’t find the camp. We ended up driving out to out to the Dunsmuir Lodge and grabbed the last room available. We spent the night, and my dad was telling me some stories about some of the road trips he and my mom used to take. He also told me about a story when he was enlisted and on leave, that he and a few buddies got lost after a river trip. The next morning we made it to camp, but the real treat on these trips was spending time with him and his father as the years progressed. A lot of stories were shared over the years to me, my brother, uncles and so on.
A few days ago, there was a celebration of life for my Great-Uncle Lafe who became the leader of these hunting trips for several decades. He and his children hunted on a yearly basis. Spending time with them on those trips was always an experience in of itself. I admired my Uncle Lafe just like my father and grandfather. Even more I admired my Great-Aunt Lorena who just passed a few weeks ago. She was always a lot of fun on those hunting trips and cared for us little ones greatly. In a way, she was a mother to us all while we were away from home. I enjoyed spending a lot of time cooking and sitting around the fire with her. Although when it came time to prepare the livers of the venison after a hunt, I was scarce because it usually meant you had to partake in the delicacy. Plus I was a hard sell on those famous peanut butter sandwiches. She did however get annoyed with my sneaky sweet tooth!
Memories indeed begin to vanish with old age. Witnessing my Grammie go through dementia in the last two years of her life has made me realize memories are precious and should be documented. Sad chapters like that in a person life, made me appreciate that while my father struggled with his health and heart problems. Until his last day, he was aware of it all. It still does hurt to think he was alone in the hospital for those final moments. But knowing that he was conscious and can say goodbye to the world, he knew in his own way does give some comfort.