Sunday, June 21, 2009

I miss you, Dad!

I got off work at 1 PM, and rushed home to change clothes and drive over the mountain to have a joint Father's Day celebration and 4th birthday party for my youngest son at my mom's house. I hadn't seen my kids since Thursday, so I was pretty anxious to see them. As I was getting dressed, I pulled out one of my father's old t-shirts to wear. My father died in a car accident on May 28, 2005, three weeks before my youngest son was born. I wasn't ready for him to go - he was only 63 years old, and we were in the midst of reconnecting and getting to know one another again after some challenging years when my parents divorced. At least I had the foresight, through my grief, to ask for his clothing. There wasn't much, but I was able to find two t-shirts, one long sleeved and one short sleeved, that weren't too terribly big on me and that were in decent shape that I kept to wear on days like today. The rest of the t-shirts, I cut apart to make a memory quilt for me and my family.

I completed it a year and a half ago, and presented it to my mother for Christmas - even though they had divorced and both remarried, they remained best of friends. The plan was to allow the quilt to rotate among members of the family - we are so widespread - so that we all have a chance to use it and honor him. It hasn't made it back to me yet, but my turn will come soon. For today, I was happy just to wear his shirt. I couldn't help but laugh when I arrived at my mother's and realized she was unwittingly wearing a pair of his old athletic shorts. His spirit is with us still today, I believe.

Once at my mother's, we had a great time with tacos and cake and ice cream

and presents

and badminton (perhaps the long skirt and floppy hat were a bad idea - I was terrible!).

Seeing my brother on Father's Day, though, is a surreal experience for me. He doesn't really look like my father,

but his mannerisms, his walk, his gestures, his laugh, they are identical. It is like seeing a 30 year old version of my father, and I spent a lot of time today choking back tears. I miss you, Dad. Happy Father's Day!