I was trying to make a post on Facebook, but it got too long.
A million years ago today, my dad died. It was actually 14, but sometimes it feels like a million. On the other hand sometimes it feels like yesterday.
I still haven't figured out the best way to deal with this day. I'd like to forget about it and always have to wonder, "Was it the 3rd? Or was it the 13th?" But it happened on an important day in our lives so everyone in my family is always reminded. But otherwise? I still don't know. Should I try not to think about it? Should I search my brain for happy memories and picture him laughing? It's not hard to do. Maybe I should do what a friend has done and take myself on an epic adventure at this time a year. I do not know.
But before I get too maudlin let me get back to the point - I was looking for photos of me and my dad to post on Facebook. I found a couple I liked, and when I couldn't decide which one to post, I decided to put both of them here.
Here's what I remember about this photo. My parents and I were at some house full of people who were strangers to me. (I think we were visiting my cousin Angie in Colorado. Partly that's my memory and partly it's that dress. I recognize it from other pictures of Angie and me.) The reason I love it is I clearly remember feeling weird about the people, and being sure to stick right by my dad's side. I remember thinking "as long as I stay with my dad I'll be safe." Now that I'm old, I realize how lucky I was to take that for granted.
Also I love that dog, my dad's hip, wide, leather watchband that I used to play with every chance I got, and that short sleeve sweater that somehow stayed around in his dresser until I was a teenager and started wearing it.
And then there's this family photo. Are we like the biggest family of dorks in the world or what? This photo was taken in the living room of the duplex we lived in for 5 years. That was a long time. Before this I think we moved from apartment to apartment every year or so. We're sitting on a black leather chair that went with a black couch that my parents were super excited to get. The metal shelf eventually held much more stuff, but I remember some of the things on it. The red blob on the top is a red glass paperweight. It was heavy. On the shelf below are two dolls my auntie brought us from japan. They were round heads and the sat atop the wooden basis. I played with them more than I was allowed. My mom painted the ceramic egg. It was two parts with a top and bottom. I think she kept jewelry in there. I played with it more than I let my mom know. Below that is the delicate doll on a stand the same aunt brought to me, especially, from Japan. I would have played with it All The Time, but she was stapled down to the stand and her arms didn't move. Next to that is a weird pipe my dad had, that I grew up believing he smoked pot out of once or twice but my mom swears absolutely never, so...
My dad looks so young in that picture. We all do, but look at him (the Parliment Lights in his pocket and that same wide watchband). He's 27. I'm 7. We both thought we'd live forever.
(The photos are from 1971 and 1972.)