I realized today that as of Sunday it has been six months since my father passed away.
I don't understand how time can just go away like that and leave people behind; how I can keep moving along with it even while a piece of me will forever cling to the memory of a final smile and blissfully ignorant exchange of "I love you" in a hospital doorway in late May. The only comfort it affords me now is that if I had known at that moment it would be the last time we'd exchange words, I wouldn't have said anything different.
I guess not everyone is even that fortunate and I am thankful for the small things.
Two days after he died, I had a panic about these small things. That because he was gone I would start to forget the things about him that made him the dad I loved and most importantly my dad. Most people would probably find this amusing (if not for the subject matter), as I tend to have a ridiculously good memory. And in hindsight, I think "how could I believe I would forget these things." However, at the time I sat down and began to list all the quirky, funny, wonderful and less than wonderful things that defined who my dad was to me. I look at it now and although it was written at a time of immense pain, it still has the ability to make me smile.
In an effort to share with the world that indefinable thing that makes a person who they are, who they were, I would like to list for you some of what I wrote. My dad wasn't the perfect person, actually far from it, but problems and all, he was the only dad I'd ever want. You should all know how lucky I am.
Loved Coca-Cola, Nascar, 24, steak, WWII, history, online shopping, key lime pie, The Rolling Stones, "In-a-gadda-da-vida", me, my sister, my mom, seeing us happy.
Always told me to drive safely. To a fault.
Took pictures of everything. Twice.
Made great Sheppard's Pie.
Loved my friends.
Went to every. single. one. of my dance shows, piano recitals, band concerts, school functions.
Supported everything I did. The choices I made.
Was the King.
Loved to drive.
Loved Elmira College.
Hated George W. Bush.
Got more liberal-minded with age.
Read the paper and did the crosswords every day.
Owned a million shirts. Most of them plaid.
Always hugged and kissed me and said "I love you".
Told me he was proud of me all. the. time.
Called every week.
Would email me after every episode of 24.
Would do anything, go any distance, jump any hoop, get to the highest person in order to right a wrong for someone he loved. (Just ask the CEO of GM and that ass-hole at Las Vegas Chevrolet.)
Loved cats and one particular stupid dog.
Hated traffic, long lines and crowds.
Was not patient.
Had a temper that kept diminishing with age.
Drove too fast. Never wore a seatbelt.
Was my biggest ally.
Once drove four hours to EC just to see me get an award and drove four hours back in the same day.
Was at home in or near water.
Mowed the lawn in his bare feet. Even when said stupid dog's crap was all over the place. ("It's easier to hose off your feet than the bottom of your shoe.")
He sometimes had a point.
Would claim to be a "pretty smart guy", when actually, he was really smart.
When his hair went gray and then white he joked that he couldn't grow his beard anymore because he'd get confused with Santa.
Called me punkin and hun.
Spoiled me rotten.
Could do pretty good impressions of the Chef on the Muppets, Fog Horn Leg Horn and the Buzzards from Looney Toons ("Where didde he go George? Where didde go?")
Kicked Super Mario's ass. Then never played again.
Called farts "ducks."
Called all birds "ducks" too.
Had a great sense of humor. Even when he was sick.
Was one of the strongest and one of the weakest people I knew.
Was my hero.
I miss you.
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)