Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fatherless Fathers Day, Year 2

Dad & Me, H.S. Graduation, 1977
We circle 'round to our losses, over and over again. Each year it gets a little better. There's a little more distance, a little more getting used to the rhythms of "without."

Dad & Me, 1997
But we never get over, we just get through.

Today is my second Fathers Day without a father.

Dad & Me, Riverside Park, 1997
As the day was approaching, and I was wondering how I would feel, I was trying to measure, to gauge how less sharp the loss might feel, the dulling of the ache as time wears smooth the memories of those last, dreadful months.

Dad & Me, 1991
I know the pain is less keen these days; there is more dull ache to it, less sharp jab. But I also knew I would be thinking of him. How could I not?

And indeed thoughts of my father have come and gone today, where last year they were a constant companion. I have been trying not to worry at the hollow space too much, like a tongue always seeking that missing tooth.

On Vacation with my Dad, Mexico, 1978
I kept busy, was thoroughly distracted by my children, taking a drive with a friend and her brood out to the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey.

Losing ourselves in giant bubbles and sneezing blue faces. Exhibits that taught us to speak a few words in another language and ones that recorded our voices and played them back REALLY LOUD (can't you just see Jake's delight at THAT?)

It was a good day.

But still? I miss my Dad.

Me & Dad, December, 1969
I'm sad that my kids have no Grandfather.

Dad & Jake, 2005
He really loved my boys, was touchingly involved with them until that last year, when he was slowly slip-sliding away from it all.

Dad & family, 2007
He took a special interest in Jacob, read up about autism, wanted to do all he could to help him.

Mom, Me & Dad at E & J's Birthday Party, 2009
The Dad from my childhood, the Dad from my early adulthood, the Dad from these last, waning years when our roles reversed and I had become his caretaker.

These all coexist, living on inside me now.

He told me so many of his stories. (I feel so lucky to have truly known my father.). And so the man my father was before he was my father also lives on in me, too.

And I will share those stories with my children (and with you, my readers) so he will continue to live on, even when I, too, am gone.

Not how he preferred to achieve immortality (like Woody Allen he was hoping to actually live forever) but it beats the alternative, fading away into the dust.

Dad, Me & Mom, 1962
Happy Fathers Day, Daddy Jim.

My father, 1961 (photo by Bruce Steinhardt)
I will remember you, love you, always.

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