Thirteen years ago today. September 13, 1999. The day my Dad passed away. Life has not been the same, or as sweet, since.
Losing him has created a massive hole in my heart, in my life, in my family. Because he left way too soon — when he was a y
oung and vibrant 67-year-old, and I was 41, still in need of his father-fabulosity in my life.
But at least now I can say the word “Dad” without getting teary-eyed. And when I think about colon cancer these days, my blood doesn’t boil as much as it once did. I no longer spend this day, September 13, in front of the TV, lying in the fetal position, drowning my sorrows in Snickers bars. Instead, I try to embrace the day and meander happily through the maze of many memories where my dad is the handsome, comedic, smart and wise star.
So on this date, September 13, 2012, thirteen years later — for my therapy’s sake, and because I’m in need of some smiles about now — I’m going to share, via written word, what I have dreamed of saying to my Dad ~ if I were lucky enough to have him in my life, by my side, just one more time.
Dad, ohmigosh, you would be so proud of Mom. She has her own iPad! What? Oh, no, an iPad is not a feminine hygiene product, Dad. It’s a computer! And she’s quite proficient with it. Her sweet dog Ruby — Claudia’s and my so-called half-sister — keeps her plenty busy. And what Mom lacks in height (that darn osteoporosis), she more than makes up for in extreme feisty-ness!
As for your grandkids, I doubt you’d even recognize them! Jessica was the quintessentially beautiful bride last October when she got married. And you would love Ben, the lucky groom. As for Zach, I know you two would be best buds. So much you could talk about over an Oly or two, or five. Cassidy is a lot like you, Dad, in a very unique and significant way, as she too has a deep affinity and love for ‘brown sugar’ and ‘dark chocolate.’ (Inside joke.) And you were so right about Julia! You had her pegged when you first met her when she was two days old: She remains as industrious, resourceful and busy as ever.
All four of them are fun, happy, good people, Dad. They were royally ripped off by not having you, their Baba, with them for a longer time. Their lives would have been richer, fuller and funnier. I so wish you could have seen each of them play their chosen sport while in high school — lacrosse, basketball, swimming, baseball and football. You would have been so proud…
And speaking of football, Pa, you would be in heaven (oh, that’s right you are in heaven!) . Because nowadays, virtually every single college game is on TV. Which means, of course, you would be able to watch Ohio State every Saturday! And the Indy 500! In High Definition! On a plasma screen! Woops…HD and plasma are foreign words to you, huh? Long story short, crystal clear images on a very large, flat-screen TV.
As for Claudia and Ed, Chuck and me….hmmmm. Let’s see. These ‘golden years’ have bestowed upon us, to varying degrees, silver hair, taller foreheads, sluggish bowels and creaky joints. Whatever…
In my mind I still hear, so clearly, you and Ed verbally jousting back and forth with one another. “Paaaaa!” “I love you, Man!” (Inside joke.) Like it was yesterday. Such great times you two shared.
Chuck often relives the glorious golfing days he shared with you. Oh, and trying on pants at Macy’s. (Inside joke.) We went to River Island Country Club a few years back. Bittersweet for sure. It was just not the same place without you.
Claudia! Ahhhhh, my sis. She’s still the generous, huge-hearted Barringer Girl. And she’s still the one who does things like bakes plum cake for a neighbor who (merely) skins a knee; goes to Africa for a month on a medical mission; and cleans toilets every Tuesday at the church. Blah, blah, blah. I mean, after all, she was the ‘adored one’ by Mr. Bussee, P and F, and half
of Porterville. Whatever…
of Porterville. Whatever…
As for me, you probably wouldn’t recognize me. Because 13 years ago my skin was taut, smooth and dewy; my eyes were twice as big; and my thighs were definitely thinner. Whatever… But, I am the same person inside that I always was — a wife, a mom, a sister, a friend, and your daughter, who misses you every breathing moment.
Vintage photo of us all, together, August 1999
4,576 days is way too many days without you. It sucks.
And just because I think you’ll get a kick out of it, I want to give you a quick rundown on what’s been happening in this crazy world. So here’s a Social Studies/History/Pop Culture quick checklist. Just for you, Dad.
- Barack Obama. Never heard of him, huh? Well,
he’s the president. Of the United States of America.
- The date September 11 (especially 2001) will never have the same meaning to the world. Especially America. Don’t get me started…
- Kale, acai, arugula and quinoa are not bodily maladies. You actually eat them. And they’re delicious.
- And Bieber Fever isn’t a malady, either.
- The words Twitter, Tweet and Hashtagging are just that… words. Get your mind out of the gutter, Dad. LOL
- BTW, LOL means “laughing out loud.” Oh, and BTW means “By the way.” One must know these acronyms so one can text.
- WTH (what the heck)! SMH (smack my head)!!! You don’t know what texting is, do you? It’s like a shorthand we use when we communicate on our smart phones. Or FaceBook. You know what…I won’t even bother explaining all this stuff. Because “It don’t matter,” as you used to say….
- Snoop Dog, Lady Gaga, Pink, Seal and Snooki are… people. Like real (kinda) people.
- Speaking of real, ‘reality shows’ are a big deal on TV these days. Like American Idol, Survivor, The Voice, The Biggest Loser, Dancing With The Stars. I often wonder which ones you would enjoy watching…
- Sofia Vergara, Beyonce, Kerry Washington, JLo, even Kim Kardashian. Oh how I wish you come down here and take a quick gander. I think you’d like what you see.
So yeah…a lot has changed in 13 years. And since you’ve been gone, the grass isn’t nearly as green, the sun isn’t quite as bright, and even Mom’s chocolate cake with that brown sugar frosting doesn’t taste as sweet. But life’s still good. Because what hasn’t changed, what will never change, is the love I have for you, the difference you made in my life, the innumerable best-ever memories we shared, and the fact that A & W Rootbeer has that frosty-mug taste. (Another inside joke.)
And I know you’re smiling right now, Dad.