Seventeen years ago today I got news that changed the rest of my life. News of a tragic and fatal automobile accident that took my father from me. Recently it has led me to start rethinking about how to chronicle the 10 years I spent being a 19 year old. How it took me a long time to deal with the loss and how “dealing with it” often meant just moving on and accepting. How I ran from responsibility, keep relationships at arm’s length and never admit any internal pain publically. Rehashing the memories the last few months has led me into some really bad and difficult mental spots. Occasionally more difficult than the six or so months of bad depression immediately after Dad died. It probably has a lot to do with how I am repeating his life.
How I am struggling for an occupational identity
How I want to write but struggle to find the time to make it a priority
How projects start small but become massive and time consuming and require a village to implement
How I am staying home with my son instead of working like he did for at least a few years before I was in high school
How I have to wear glasses, have more fake teeth than real, and how my body aches every morning before I am 40
How blue collar work sounds noble to us but leads to more of those morning aches than it is worth
But like him I learning about how simple life can be if you let it. He was often amazed by things teenage me thought were boring. How driving for hours on end or sitting in the woods recharges the soul and yet leaves you with nothing still to talk about. How watching the same movies or shows is often more exciting than finding something new to watch in the limited time to sit you have. I have also started annoying the beautiful Hannah while I read placards at museums and monuments when she just looks at the pictures and wants to keep moving. “Because words matter and paint pictures better in our memories” or something like that.
It does make me a little sadder every year to realize that Junior will never have a Grandpa even for just a few years like I did. That we won’t have multiple generations in a picture on Facebook like friends will. That he won’t hear Grandpa Jim’s horrible jokes or stories that change slightly every time they are told.
I don’t know why it is harder this year than last to fathom the loss of a Grandpa for my son. Maybe because he would be able to ask for him now. And run to him and grab a phone to call like he does his grandmothers and great-papa. Or because I would be able to watch and learn from him and that is what I am missing.
So instead I have to tell the bad jokes and make myself available to play and laugh with him. And try to remember Dad’s stories so I can pass them on.
Miss you Dad.
Writer’s note- This time of year depresses me. I am doing okay—family—and am working through how to figure out life in its newest revelation. Thanks for understanding and letting me still be public with thoughts.