20 Years Without My Dad

My father passed away 20 years ago today. There was a time, not too long ago, when I thought about having lost him a lot. I was a young(er) father with young children and I felt often at wits’ end and I so dearly wished I could talk with him again. That seems a lifetime ago, now.

I’m a bit disappointed in myself that I almost forgot about today. I knew a few weeks ago that today was coming, the milestone in particular, and I didn’t know then how I would feel. I wouldn’t have put “embarrased” on that particular bingo card, but here we are. Because that’s how I feel having forgotten. To a small degree, I can console myself in the fact that I’m abysmal with remembering important dates. But then, we have these fancy supercomputers in our pockets and on our wrists that are supposed to do that for us. So I really have no excuse.

I miss you, Dad. I still hear your laughter, I still hear you singing at Christmas, I still remember you in every taste of whiskey that I’ve ever had (yes, with the ’e’; Dad didn’t drink a lot of Scotch whisky, though he usually used the metonym to cover every make beyond bourbon), I still hear you working away in your workshop every time I fire up the Skilsaw or use a power drill. I still strive to perfect Yorkshire puddings, still crave a good roast beef, still make the Caesar salad you taught me … even if I’m the only one who likes it; please don’t hold that against your grand-daughters.

Monkey and Choo Choo ask about you from time to time. Not a lot, though that’s mostly because of Alex’s parents – they’re a big factor in their lives. Mom doesn’t get a lot of thought, either, as a result, so it’s not you per se, it’s distance and presence. For years, Grandpa swooped in every month whether he needed to or not, and his house is a regular visit for us. Grandma was the girls’ art teacher for nearly a decade.

Your picture hangs on the wall, prominently in our living room, right along with the rest of the family, always present. Your legacy lives on, too, of course. And I don’t just mean the genes – the things you taught me come up (like how to replace a faucet or fix a light socket) every now and then. I’m sure I’ll spend more time teaching them as they get closer to going out into the world. It might not be from you directly, but I’m sure they’ll know.

Love you, Dad. Miss you.

Mom, me, Cathy, and Dad, 9 October 1999

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