It has been about seven-and-a-half months since my father passed away. I haven't thought about him every day, but, often, when I have felt like I were in a hole from which I could not extricate myself, the memory of Robert Raymond came to my mind and I found myself digging deeper within myself to "make Dad proud." (Or, at least, to not embarrass Dad.)
Dad is in another realm, now. He lives here on Earth only through memories and objects of his that just scream Daddy B. His safari hat, for instance. Every time I look at that damned thing (hell, every time I think about that thing) I tear up. He always wore it a jaunty angle and the hat was him. Sunglasses beneath the brim, his big beard beneath the glasses. It is then when I miss the hell out of him; and it is then when the final weeks of his life come smacking me back in the head with a clarifying jangle. I remember his final days and I remember the sense of impotence that I--we all--felt. I wanted to hasten his exit Stage Left, yet I didn't want him to leave. No one should have to leave this life, this transition station, in that way. In all actuality, his was a quick exit. He was really only in a helpless state for about two weeks. Yeah, I can say that. "Only" two weeks. Try living it, Adam. Where each minute seems like an hour. Where some limbs are paralyzed and to speak is a Siphyean chore. But.
Let's remember the good times, shall we? I tend to sink readily--almost greedily--into gloom and doom and dark shadows.
Growing up, Dad was always the strong bear of a man. Seen from a little kid's perspective, he was larger than life. Big booming voice, super-wide shoulders, big bushy black beard. Thick muscled forearms. A ubiquitous glint in his eyes. He was a mischievous guy, he was a playful guy; he kept us three kids entertained. And he worked hard. He worked his ass off. An engineer at Chrysler, he would come home during the week for the dinner hour and then shoot off to his second business, a yarn and loom shop. He'd put in about five or six hours there--business was definitely not always booming--and then he'd come home and go to sleep and then start it up all over again the next day. I'd like to say that I got my sense of hard work from my father, but, no. I'm a little lazy, sometimes. When I'm at work, sure, I bust my ass. But I have not nearly the drive my dad had. And that's okay. I'm fine with that. Everyone is different. Everyone has their own pace to life. My dad's was hyperkenetic...until he retired. And then he was off to globe-trotting. Kenya, India, China, Vietnam.
I miss him, sure. It's a part of life, sure. But, today, on Fathers' Day, I just want to send a shout out to Bobby B., wherever he is. I miss you, Dad, I love you, Dad, and you'll always be the number one dad in my life. I just hope that I can live up to what you did. I love you, father.