My father died 10 years ago today. He was 57 years old. Hard to believe that it’s been so long. It feels like it happened yesterday and I remember everything about that night. Everything.
I haven’t been to the cemetery in a really long time, even though it’s fairly close to the house. But I still think of him at least once every day. With a little “I love you, daddy” whispered as I lay in bed after turning off the lights. And I often think of him more than once a day, when I’m worried about something or having a particularly tough time at work.
I especially think of him when Chloe and Sophie make me laugh. How proud he would be of his granddaughters, who would probably remind him of his own kids in so many ways. How much joy they’d bring him and what they’re missing because they never had a chance to know him.
And yet, I see him in my girls. Whether it’s Chloe’s talent for blaming everything that happens to her on someone else, even when it’s clearly her own fault, or Sophie’s keen interest in fashion, my dad is close by and near to my heart.
We had a huge snowstorm today. When I was outside shoveling the walkway in front of the house, I had memories of my dad. Memories of him shoveling our completely ridiculous circular gravel driveway at the house where I spent my adolescence. How he’d try to enlist us to help him shovel the driveway, and we’d laugh at him before being guilted into spending 10 minutes outside pretending to help. Really, why in the hell would anyone choose to install a such a large, unpaved driveway in the suburbs of the Northeast? Before global warming did away with most of our snowstorms? Classic dad.
But the best winter memory I have of my father took place shortly before he died. My parents had a house in upstate New York at the time, a place we christened “Frog Hollow.” It was beautiful. Lots of land and a terrific sledding hill in the backyard that seemed to go on forever. We were visiting my parents for the weekend and a decent amount of snow had fallen. All of us took turns racing down the hill with the sleds he had bought for the occasion. Dad loved it. He was laughing and yelling and gleeful. For a little while, all of us were children again. And it was great. After he died, we briefly wondered whether the excitement and exertion of the sledding had anything to do with his death, which occurred not long afterwards. But I refuse to believe that something so fun and innocent would have anything to do with something so very sad.
In honor of dad and his family, Chloe and her friend helped me bake a few dozen of his grandmother’s (my great-grandmother) cookies this afternoon. Delicious.
I love you, daddy. Always.