It’s been 1,825 days since we last met. Almost 60 months since I’ve heard your voice. 261 weeks since I’ve seen your eyes. 43,799 hours since I’ve felt your arms wrap around me, or hands squeeze my shoulders in affection. Far too long since my last groan-inducing dad-joke or fit of laughter over the most seemingly-innocuous (and quite frankly dumb) thing.
Five years is a long time and as the clock keeps ticking I keep worrying that my memory of you will continue to fade like a photo left out in the sun. Each passing year I have to close my eyes just a littler tighter and concentrate just a little bit harder to hear your voice. One day, I know my own memories of you will dull. They’ll slowly take a back seat to the stories, and photographs, and videos, and friends, and family that you’ve left behind. And while it might sound tragic and sad (and it is a little), those stories that live on will always tell the story of who you were at your core. The friend. The brother. The son. The dad. The husband (and the ex-husband) – to continue to hear your narrative through other people for as long as it’s being told is a gift not worth mourning.
I only had 25 years to spend with you on this earth (and you know..a solid 8 of those years were me being mush). One day I’ll have spent more years on this earth without you and as the clock ticks towards that time I wonder sometimes about the advice you’d give me. How do I cope with loneliness? How can I mend a broken heart that just won’t heal? Who exactly is the lead singer of AC/DC again? What is it like to have a family? What should I absolutely NOT miss if I ever go to Italy? Your absence is felt in my world with a void is very real. How 46 years worth of your experience, and wit, and character, honesty and heart would have aided me as I navigate a world that can sometimes be insurmountably confusing, and cold, and cruel will forever be an enigma with no answer.
But in all the sorry for not having you in my world to help me navigate through – you left me with an even greater gift. The knowledge of your pride. To know unequivocally, that simply by being your son I was, by default, great. The job title, the talent, who we loved or what we did – none if mattered then, doesn’t matter now, and would never matter for as long as time went on. We were great because we were a part of you; mistakes and all.
Thanks for teaching me laugher – especially the kind had over inappropriate things Mom wouldn’t approve of. Your humor will light my path in life because it’s proven to me that nothing, not even death, can be so debilitating that you can’t smile your way through it. Thanks for teaching me kindness – because when the world is tough, being there to help someone else will not only help them through; it’ll help me too. Thanks for teaching me about friendship, to value every day the people in my life who mean the most – because they’re the ones who will tell my story when I’m no longer around.
And…thanks for not teaching me creepy thumb trick. Seriously. not knowing how to do that will help me avoid SO many solid uncle stereotypes. Phew!
I miss you Dad. Immensely. My appreciation for the strength, courage, and perspective is you gave me and continue to give me, is quite frankly indescribable. Thanks for being so many things to many people – but thanks the most for just being my Dad.