My Dad always said that time goes by very quickly especially as you get older. I remember as a kid time not going by fast enough. Looking at the clock waiting for him to get home, a time when an hour felt like a year. Now a year feels like an hour.
People told me that time would heal things and that a year would bring closure. Closure? I don't want closure. This is not something one would ever have closure over. I want to remember. I want to have my heart swell when I think of him and not hurt so goddamn much.
See my Dad? He's not the kind of guy one would ever forget. He was everyone's best friend or buddy. Everyone Dad introduced us to was either, "My friend or my buddy." The close ones were always "Uncle" (It was always, "Uncle Warren", "Uncle John", "Uncle Tom" with his best buds.) That's just the way he was. A smile on his face. A glimmer in his eye and a song on the radio. He loved everyone and was loved by everyone (if you didn't love him or he didn't love you, you were clearly an asshole. Trust me on this one.)
It was devastating to get that call. I was in shock for quite a few months over it. I couldn't get the image of my Dad sitting alone in a rocking chair out of my head. I hate to say that I am grateful that he was at home when it happened but I am. He would have been pissed if it had happened and he was in the car on the way to work. At home, in his favorite chair with the television full blast (that's always how he had it with either the TV or the radio), yeah, I think that's how he would have wanted it. We all know it was too soon. Who is ever prepared for death or to lose someone? Especially someone you love so much that the thought of him not being on this planet anymore makes you physically ache.
A year later and my Mom has moved into her new condo (though she's still living with my sister as I write this.) My sister is pregnant with Baby Number Two (a girl.) Tristan is ending his Sophomore year of High School. Jack is now three and more of a munchkin than ever before. We haven't moved on. We're just carrying my Dad with us. I take his CDs with me when I travel to teach. Dean Martin. Johnny Maestro. Otis Redding. Yeah, he taught me to love music in all forms and I'm the weird one who sets her rental car stereo to 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, hair bands and old time radio. It's just how I am because of him. Music was always on the car radio and I'm the same way.
I still wait for the phone to ring. I think it's going to be him. He called me everyday. Some days I would roll my eyes when he called. I rolled my eyes when he called me a little before 5 p.m. on the night of June 8th. It hurts me to think that I did it but I did. Most of our phone calls were very short. What I would sometimes think of him as checking up on me was more his way of checking in. We went through his phone when he died and found tons of daily calls (all two or three minutes in lenghth) to me, my Mom, sister, Aunt Sis and a small handful of friends and family. It was his way of letting us know that he loved us and was thinking about us. I remember talking to him the Wednesday before he died about seeing "The Avengers" and how he thought it was a cool movie. He sounded upbeat and happy. He wasn't coughing while we talked. It didn't sound like he was going anywhere at the time.
He even had an appointment at the doctor's on the day that ended up being his wake. He didn't mess around with this health. I'm tired of folks saying that. He was friends with his doctor (he called the doctor at home and on his cellphone!) and he knew that something was wrong because he couldn't stop coughing. He took care of things. He always did. That's the way he was. Yet, it wasn't taken care of fast enough.
So, a year later and we're learning how to live with a gaping hole in our hearts. We try to patch it up and fill it with something but it can't be mended. We have to learn how to live with our broken hearts. We focus on the times when we were really happy and the people that gave us so much love and joy. Dad knew how to laugh and make others laugh. I have two voice mails on my phone of him singing and laughing. I miss that laugh.
Someone said it would be a hard week. It's a hard year and it will be hard the rest of our lives. Dad wouldn't want us to be sad. He would want us to reach out to our family and friends. He would want us to live and love and remember everything that he did for us and how very, very, very much he loved us. I just hope he knew how much we loved him.