Today’s date holds some significance for me, and perhaps for a few others. Thirty-five years ago was the day I first lost someone in my immediate family, in this case my dad. He was 62, had retired just a few weeks prior, and was with mom and a brother in Florida, setting up their condo for the years ahead. Mom lived another ~25 years in that space, and made the most of her years.
I was 25 when dad died, having moved to CA for grad school, married the year before and, to use current parlance, in the early stages of ‘adulting.’ Definitely learning by mistake, but definitely learning, I was looking forward to getting to know my folks and siblings as a ‘grown-up’. In time, of course, that’s happened–with all but dad.
As an adult I’ve come to know the dad I knew growing up, rather than the person he became as he aged further, how he would have responded to all that occurred in the world in the 90s, 00’s, etc. It’s unlikely I would have shared his take on many things, but I would like to have continued to learn from him, even if at times through examples I saw as negative. Of course, we all feel that way about those we’ve lost, or lost touch with.
In reality, so much of who I am comes from him. Certainly, so much of who I am also comes from my mom and my siblings, no doubt about it. But perhaps I feel my dad-traits strongly because those traits are what allow me to maintain memories of him.
I am now just two years shy of his age when he died. I know that my siblings have been as aware of reaching 62 as I am, and thankfully they’ve all passed that age with ease. Each is still living fully, their character, principles, and values intact. And each of us is so very proud of our children/grandchildren–just as our mom/dad were of us.
I wish I believed that a place existed which would allow me to have another cup o’ Sanka with dad, to head out to a diner on the way to do maintenance on my grandmother’s house. Perhaps there is, and perhaps that explains last night’s dreams, but I admit that I’d like to feel a hug.