A Fond Farewell

I lost my father and I miss him dearly.

Clearly this happens to everyone in some stage, at some point in their life. In some cases it is all too early. Sometimes it comes after much suffering. In his case neither was true. My dad died quickly after a life full of laughter and wine. I am totally grateful for that.

What I’m left with (beyond the stunning loss) is the question of, why? Not why did he die, but why do we live? I know that lots of people have written about grief and loss and this kind of existential crisis is part of the process. I just can’t help myself.

I always lived for my mother’s love and worked for my father’s admiration. That is to say I wanted him to be proud of me. And I know he was. Though not always: like the time I pierced my tongue to impress a girl but wound up getting a mild infection and going to the doctor. His exact words, “you are a fucking idiot Dave.” Or when I jumped off a wall to impress a friend and wound up with a broken leg. Again, “you are a fucking idiot.” He was right, but with his impish smile I knew he was secretly impressed with my awkward fumblings through life.

And that is how it all started; all the things I’ve strived for have been held up against those benchmarks of his life: my children, my marriage, my friendships, my career, my accomplishments. In my dad’s passing that urge to impress has faded. I’m rudderless.
The sensation is that of stumbling around for purpose. My whole notion of stability or success has vanished. It’s inconceivable to me, how you rebuild after something like this.

Yet, here I am digging out and moving forward. My best hope is what was once a want for approval is now much more about honoring a legacy, a continuum of his great good. His immense kindness. I like the idea that we are all part of some larger throbbing machine, as one piece fades away we all step in to fill the vacuum. I only hope I can do my part to carry on his important work as a father, a husband, a friend, a neighbor, a compassionate thinker (and a heavy drinker).

Maybe his energy is still here just in other forms; his breath is the breeze, his spirit the birds. Not sentient or conscious per se but enough to keep me wondering, to keep me honest and to give me a sounding board for my bad ideas (no more piercings I promise). I lived my whole life hoping to make my dad proud, but in the end need to say how truly proud I am to be his son.

I lost my father and I miss him dearly

Thank you so much.

 
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