So, you may have been wondering where the hell I’ve been. Not that I flatter myself by believing that I am much more than a constellation of ones and zeroes in a universe of code, but I do feel like I have this place, and so I should tend to it now and then.
It’s 2014, and I have not written much in the last six months. I’ve been on hiatus, closed for business, out to sea in a lot of ways. But now we are almost a month deep into the new year, and I feel like I’ve got to come back, or risk never coming back at all.
The thing is, we lost my father in September. He was an amazing guy, the kind of person who lit up a room, brought the party, made you feel like all was right with the world. He was just the best kind of father, and King of the Grandfathers. The kind of grandpa who dotes on his grandkids, slips them candy and money on the sly. I’ve written about him many times here, including the time that he totally saved my butt, which was just one of the many many times he did. He was in the hospital for a couple of weeks, complications from a procedure performed on his heart, that ended in a blood-splattered night of dashed hopes and tears. In the wake of the loss, I’ve kind of been empty and had a hard time putting thoughts into words. Also I feel like I need to address the issue of losing my dad before I can write anything else. Does that make any kind of sense?
I sat by his side, taking my daily shifts in the hospital, and we had the most wonderful conversations. I think he knew his time was short, or at least he feared that it was. I don’t know if other people let him feel those feelings, but I did. I let him know it was okay to be scared. And I feel so lucky because he basically told me everything I had ever needed to hear him say. That he loved me. That I’m smart, strong, a good mother. That my husband is the best kind of guy.
He didn’t believe in God or heaven, but he said on more that one occasion that he thought he would achieve immortality in the hearts and memories of the people who loved and remembered him. Whether or not he had that right, I know he will never leave me.
2013 was a good year in a lot of ways. Both the boys had lead roles in their school plays. Edison made the all-state chorus, and his scores at the audition earned him the rank of number-one baritone in the state. We had a great summer vacation in California. We got a dog. But all that has been under the cloud of the worst thing that happened last year, not necessarily robbing me of joy in the good, but tarnishing it nonetheless.
My dad always told me, whenever I felt sorry about losing my mother, that I had to concentrate on what I have, to make what’s here now my focus. In the end, that’s some of the best advice he ever gave me.
So now it is a new year, and though the holidays were difficult, I do feel like the baggage is just a few ounces lighter. So much to look forward to this year: Edison is going to high school, and Clooney’s going to middle school. Every day is a gift, and there’s a lot of laughter and love around here. So now I’ve said it, and hope that, at least in a blogging sense, I can move on.
My dad used to end every phone call by saying, “Okay, if you need me, you know where I’ll be.”
Yeah, I know.
My parents are taking the kids away for the weekend, and the forecast at the beach, where they are going, is rainy all weekend with highs in the low- to mid-sixties. So my step-mom called me today to ask if I have any “windbreakers” for them. I said they have fleece things, and they have raincoats. “Fleece?” she asked, “Not nylon?” I said they were fleece, but had some nylon incorporated, and assured her that they would “break wind.”
A few hours later, I spoke to my father. He wanted to know whether I was sending their bathing suits down. I told him I thought it was going to be cold and rainy this weekend. “Well, Saturday’s supposed to be a high of 68,” he smiled. My father — the eternal optimist when it comes to beach weather. He always believes it’s going to clear, always has faith that it will be warm enough for beach activities. Could be a nor’easter, he can see the bit of blue sky on its horizon. It’s quite an endearing quality in him, actually.