Three years ago today at 8:07 p.m. my dad passed away with my brother and I by his side. We each held one of his hands. It was the way he would have wanted it to be because his worst fear was dying alone. He had only just turned 49 that January. My brother was 18. I was 22.
After he passed away I stayed with him until they came to take him away, even though my brother was freaked out. I lay next to him and tried to memorize his hands, his face. I couldn’t move. I just laid there listening to Coldplay’s “Fix You” on repeat. I knew it was the last time I would ever see him. I woudn’t have wanted it any other way, though. I always say to myself that he was there when we came into this world and we were there when he left it, which is really very fitting, if you think about it.
It’s very difficult to believe that it’s been three years already. I can still hear his voice saying his trademark “Un-be-LIEVE-able. I can still hear him laugh or see him smile if I close my eyes. He had a wonderful smile- his whole face would light up and his eyes would literally twinkle and he was often the one telling the jokes and funny stories. He got such a kick out of making us laugh. Sometimes the difficulty is that I feel panic. I feel like I didn’t learn enough about him. I was little when he and my mom divorced and it was only when I was in my late teens that we reunited. I panic that it’s too late to learn all the things that I should have known.
I feel like I didn’t have enough time with him, when I supposed I should be grateful for what we did have and that we time we spent together as I matured and grew up was truly wonderful. I know his favorite color was blue. I know he was the life of the party- unless you put him in front of a video camera and then he was shy and bashful. But I couldn’t remember what his favorite ice cream flavor was. I know he loved New Hampshire and the mountains, but I couldn’t remember if he liked the ocean and boats. I find myself craving information. I want to know what he was like when he was my age. I want to know his likes, his dislikes.
I decided to ask my mom, unsure of what her reaction would be. “Ask me anything,” she said. “You have a right to know whatever you want.” His favorite ice cream was coffee. He loved boats, but only fast ones. “He loved anything fast,” she said (and I chose to ignore the obvious joke there). He wrapped his friend’s corvette around a telephone pole when he was in high school and that’s why he had his spleen removed. He was born and raised in Long Island, NY, but he rooted for the Red Sox, Bruins, and Patriots.
Every year for the anniversary of his passing I take the day and remember him, honor his memory by doing things that I know he would approve of and think were fun. So, today I went to the Institute of Contemporary Art, then for his favorite foods (minus the bacon cheeseburger) and now I’m home watching Star Trek on the PC laptop he bought me and blogging on my mac. When I was little we used to watch “Star Trek: The Next Generation” together- an odd tradition, I know. And no, I am not a trekkie. However, I can’t pass that show on TV now without thinking of my dad.
Tomorrow I shall return to my regular blogging. I took a trip to Whole Foods that yielded some serious goods and I have lots to share. But tonight. I am going to eat my coffee frozen yogurt and remember.
Please, tell those you love that you love them.