Wednesday, December 5, 2012
My dad would have been 70 today. I can remember him talking about how weird would be to be 70, back when he was 64 and thought he could outwit his body indefinitely.
I have little ways of dealing with the gaping hole of his loss; little games I play with myself. One of them is not to look very closely at those folks who, out of my peripheral vision, look a little like him. I'll see someone, or more accurately some part of someone, and I'll let myself pretend, just for a moment, that my dad is there. The curl where their hair meets their collar can do it every time.
And I still have those crazy dreams — the ones where I know my dad is dead, and yet here we are talking. And I can tell it's really deep and meaningful and then I wake up and remember nothing. I'm just left with the feeling that we had a really amazing visit. I'm still not convinced that those are just dreams.
A few weeks ago, I came across a previously undiscovered box of old photos and other ephemera from my dad's family. There were scraps of paper that belonged to my great grandfather, my grandfather, my grandmother, my dad. Gone, gone, with only the bits and pieces left behind. I savored every minute of sifting through out-of-focus photographs of people I didn't recognize, my father's elementary school report cards ("talks too much"), and a few real gems. Among them are the photos here. I'd never seen them before, and I absolutely adore them. I love how in the series at the top my dad is cut off in every single photo. So classic of bad, old pics and yet I love the quirkiness of them now.
And this last photo of my dad and I when I was about 21. I don't remember ever seeing this image before, but it says it all.
Dad, you have my heart. I hope one day you hand it back to me.