It’s been a year since I got the call. It was late but I was expecting it. I couldn’t be there in Cincinnati but my older brother, my sister and my mother were there at my father’s bedside as the final battles in his fight with cancer were coming to a close with the dreaded but expected results. I remember I was at my computer as I am now, studying for yet another test in my information systems career path. Dad was proud of me for my profession even though he swore he’d never understand it.
That’s OK. I’d make a lousy jewelry salesman, Dad.
We went back to their home, of course, and saw to his final business. The funeral was pretty much as he wanted it – he’d had plenty of time to discuss it with my Mother, so the details to be decided weren’t too many. For my own part, I was there when Mom was discussing the music to be played at the mass and she asked me to help her choose. My choice was one I’d heard him sing before and seemed to match his demeanor over those last months, “Be Not Afraid.” I hope I can muster the same dignity when I’m staring down the short end of the barrel.
For weeks, it seemed, everywhere I went there was something right before my eyes that reminded me of him. The government office I was working in was on the same block as a home-made fudge shop. I had to stop walking that way for a while when it seemed I couldn’t walk past it and not start to cry. He loved Washington, DC and there were so many places there I went past that had a memory of him. I can’t imagine what my mother felt, living in the same house they’d been in for 25 years. I asked my father-in-law once during that stretch how long it had taken him after his father had died before that went away. The look on his face as he continued to drink his coffee in silence was more eloquent than any words. After a year, I understand completely what he was trying so hard not to tell me.
I don’t regret anything about what my Dad & I shared. I told him everything I meant to and he told me he’d done the same for me. He told me he was proud of the man I’d become. He loved my wife as a daughter of his own and my kid, only about 18 months old when he died, was a joy to him. That’s what I regret. She’s talking so much better now and her imagination, as we chase monsters and kittens and whatever else her mind’s eye brings up around the house, is something to behold. I wish he’d had the chance. As young as she is, I never held out any hope he’d see any of her children. I didn’t think it’d be too much to think he’d see her get to the 1st grade. It’s all those things that he’ll miss seeing at my side that bring the tears to me again as I sit here. They’ll come whenever I do this for some time to come, I think. As the years progress and I walk my own road having seen his take another direction, I can’t help but wish…
I miss you, Dad.
Quick News Hits
Congrats to the NASA team for the successful landing of the Mars Rover, Spirit! It beamed back its first pictures within hours of landing, a significantly better start than the ESA Beagle.
Equally important to the world, the Afghan loya jirga has agreed upon a Constitution for their country. The delegates approved the 106-article document which sets up a bicameral legislature and a powerful president. There was some last minute hitches over a couple of things including the official languages and such but the delegates worked it though.
I have 1 more blog to do today and it should be coming up before noon eastern time. You’ll understand.