I remember the day vividly. Of course I do.
Over time, its events have transpired into a movie in my mind, playing on a continuous reel that occasionally makes its way to the forefront. In it, I am watching myself as though I wasn’t a part of it, as though it wasn’t me living those moments.
I see myself as I get the news, as I cry, as I process.
I remember all the details; even the blurry ones.
So on the morning of October 5th this year, I was transported back to that day ten years prior, the day my Dad passed away.
There was my mind made movie, playing all morning as I recalled those things that I already know so well; the events of the day that changed everything.
This October 5th, I woke up in sobs and let the tears stain my pillow as the toddler slept peacefully beside me.
The anniversary of this loss is hard every year, but ten years seems so significant. Ten years. A decade. A milestone.
I miss him everyday. I grieve all of the momentous things he has missed in my life. College graduation. My wedding. Meeting my son.
But there is so much I have missed seeing of him. The way he would have loved seeing the Phillies win the World Series in 2008. The way he would have loved the historical election where Obama became President. All of the Christmas presents I missed getting to see him open and Father’s Days we never got to celebrate. Getting to see him be a granddad.
He is forever a part of me. I see it every time I look in the mirror as his eyes stare back at me. I hear him every time the Beatles song “Imagine” is played, even all of the bad cover bands. I feel him every time I say my son’s full name, because we gave our son my Dad’s name, Richard, as a middle name. I smile every time I pass a chess set, or watch my son play soccer, or stare into my son’s eyes, because, luckily, he has those same big eyes, too.
Yes, I remember that day. But I remember so much more of him as my father and I missed so much more of him in these ten years since he has been gone.
So on October 5th, rather than transporting myself back to that day, I let my mind movie play and I let my tears fall. Then I got my little boy dressed and we had a play date at the Botanical Gardens, surrounding ourselves with butterflies and flowers.
And then I think my family gave each other the greatest gift; we gave each other a weekend of each other.
Leaving the husband and toddler at home, my mom, sister, brother and I went away for a weekend to Charlottesville, VA. We immersed ourselves in laughter and conversation, scenery and adventure, and no shortage of extravagant food.
Nothing will change the significance of the loss, the way his presence is missed daily, the way my heart grieves eternally for the man that I was lucky enough to have as my father.
But this year, on this tenth year of the day we lost my father, we celebrated my Dad with love and laughter, just the four of us.
I know for certain that there were still five of us there.
“Oh heart, if one should say to you that the soul perishes like the body, answer that the flower withers, but the seed remains.” ~Kahlil Gibran