Sunday, March 13, 2011

One Year Ago, Today

My Dad, Jim Steinhardt, 1961

Today, March 13th, 2011 is the first anniversary of my father's death.

The moment of his passing was easy, a small, shallow breath inhaled, that never came back out again.

But the months leading up to this had been tough, excruciating for all involved.

The downside of having been such a strong, hardy man was that his body held on, clung fiercely to life long past the point when it should have let go, his spirit mostly fled, his dignity shredded, pain and confusion his constant companions.

I happened to not be actually present when he passed, but instead, after months spent daily at his side, was trying to be away for two days. Terrible timing. Or possibly necessary, so he felt it alright to go. We will never truly know.

If you are new to my blog, have not been following along since the beginning, I ask you to get to know my wonderful father a little bit.  Read the eulogy that I wrote for him and read at his memorial service, held last March 28th, two weeks after his death.

If you want to know a little more about him, still?

Visit his dealer, see some of his incredibly moving body of photographic work.  Read this post, here, about his last lucid days, a visit with my brother and sister.

I would also like to share a few photographs of my father, as I have known him:
Me & Dad, 1969
Dad, playing tennis, 1973 (his Rasputin phase)
Me & Dad, on vacation in Mexico, 1978
Mom & Dad in Jamaica, 1984
Dad celebrating his Birthday, Florida, 1999
Dad with grandsons, 2006
Mom & Dad's 50th Anniversary March, 2009
Dad & Bruce, August 2009
Finally, here is how I am trying to remember him, as he looked just before it all went to hell: 

Dad, September 2, 2009
This photo was taken on my mother's birthday. We had all gone out to dinner, came back to my parents apartment for the cake because Dad was tired and needed to rest. Jacob was chasing their cat Willie around the apartment, as usual. Ethan was impatiently eager for the chocolate cake (well, for the icing from it, at any rate).

We didn't know it at the time, these things can only be known in hindsight, but this was the last good time, our last family gathering with Dad still fully himself.

I know that today will be hard for me, for my mother whom I will shortly go to pick up, bring along to spend the day with me.  Today, she certainly should not be alone, needs to be surrounded by loved ones and in a place where it alright to wear her sadness.

The fact that we will be bringing her along to a shivah visit? That my husband's beloved Aunt Roz died this past Monday?  Well, that's just the icing on the shit-cake that has been this past year.  At least we'll be hanging out with a bunch of people likewise in mourning, so our sadness will fit right in.

So today we will look at old photographs, share memories, mourn my father's passing and celebrate his long life, anew.  We will recall the ways we were blessed to have him in our lives.

And we will fondly laugh at the ways in which he was also a royal pain in the ass.  Because, a man of much humor, he would have wanted it this way.

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