In some ways it feels like yesterday and in others the three years have been ages since my dad died. I don’t remember if it was overcast or sunny, hot or average or what anybody wore or looked like. It’s almost a fog, like a clichéd Lifetime movie in my brain. This is supposed to be something to remember distinctly, right?
As time has passed, I find myself remembering, highlighting, more of the good memories rather than only the bad ones. I’m still very angry but things are certainly shifting towards the positive. I don’t know if I’ll ever remember only the positive things but I kind of don’t want to. Good comes with bad. The negatives- and positives- changed me and it almost feels like I owe those moments something for what they’ve done, how they’ve shaped me as a person.
Sometimes it feels like I’m missing someone I never really knew, or a ghost, which is a strange feeling to say the least. There are memories from years and years ago and then stories that his friends, my mom and family have told me. I worry that I’m constructing my own memories of what I wanted rather than what actually was.
Despite the feeling that I didn’t know him, I have good memories of our time together. The day he died isn’t clear in my mind but others are: That time I was attacked by the monkey at the tire shop, all the times I sat on the bucket in the van, being carried like a sack of potatoes, going to the museums, building the sand box, making the teepee, the fireball of a torch- nothing’s better for a kid to play with than a kerosene soaked rag on a stick! And the countless hours he walked me up and down the hallway because I couldn’t sleep. To this day, looking at the moon and stars is calming and one of my favorite things to do.
What I’m learning and working on is that what’s done is done, it is what it is, and all there is to do is move forward. That’s easier said than done, though, and I still find myself wishing for things and wondering how things might have been and would be different. I'm afraid, too, that I'll forget things about him. I don't clearly remember the day he died and it's worrisome to think what might fade next.
Dad, I think about you everyday. I wonder if our relationship would have changed, if we would get along now. Whenever I see someone in overalls or suspenders, I think of you. When I see a picture of Tom Selleck or Burt Reynolds, it reminds me of your mustache and then when you shaved it off and it took ages for that to be the normal look. Panel vans, work boots, weird artwork, PBS, Bob Marley, Tom Waits and Eric Clapton’s music, salami and hard bread, and seeing the moon all remind me of you.
Logically, I can’t believe in a god or heaven and hell but I hope I’m wrong. I hope that you’re somewhere at peace and enjoying yourself. For better or worse you made an impact on me and I’ll never forget it. I love and miss you.