It’s been nine revolutions of the Earth since you left the mortal plane. I don’t talk about you as openly as I once did. People seem to have an understanding that I was never taught, that there is an amount of time that passes where I’m supposed to be over the loss.
Quite frankly, I think that’s bunk. I can’t foresee a time where I didn’t wish you were here to share a milestone with. I know for a fact that I’ve yet to hear “Country Roads” without thinking of you. I’ve said,”Hello,” to more hawks than any reasonable person on the planet, but I can’t imagine not noticing your signs and thanking you for them.
I think that closure is for everyone else who isn’t deeply touched by a loss. A buzzword for folks to toss out to signal they’re no longer receptive to participating in your mourning. It makes them uncomfortable to talk about. It exposes too much. Maybe it’s because it’s something they can’t fix. Possibly it’s their fear of their own mortality, or perhaps it’s as rude as total disinterest. It’s hard to say, and there isn’t one universal truth that covers the reaction anyway. Except for maybe the look in their eyes.
Most aren’t callous enough to actually permit their eyes to physically dart for the exit, but you can almost perceive them forcing their eyes not to. You raised me to be kind, so I don’t mention it when I notice, but I certainly make a mental note.
With each year that passes the note has more and more names listed. I get that I have no new stories of you to share. I’ve offered up the best anecdotes already, and our inside jokes are too hard to explain. Plus they’re sacred in a way. I wouldn’t be able to hide my annoyance if they didn’t find the humor in them. Few know better than you that I possess whatever the diametrical opposite of a poker face is.
I was thinking the other day how much better off you are in the hereafter. One of the few who’ve ever lived who was less adaptable than myself to change. And boy has world changed. Eye contact is almost unheard of. You were always so great at that. Making whomever you were speaking to feel like the two of you were in a soundproof bubble and nothing else mattered in the moment.
It would crush your spirit to think you were less important than a cat meme. Especially knowing it would appear in many feeds, multiple times on several platforms. I picture you trying to explain to Generation Screen about the value of one-on-one time and watching them gaze at you like a museum relic past any use except for ogling.
It’s those warm lectures and that grounding that I miss most though. The magnetic north of a moral compass that never left me feeling lost or excluded. I still have touchstones, but none that carry the inherent aura of authority that a Dad’s voice possesses.
While I sometimes envy your position, I know there’s work still for me to do here. I haven’t come close to amassing your catalogue of wisdom, so there’s that. And when I’m not learning myself, I’m trying to pass on what few tidbits I have mastered. Putting words out into the void with the hope that it touches at least one person when they need it most. Another piece of me moulded by your hands and example.
For now, I’ll continue to give people tiny glimpses of your impact on the anniversary of the day you moved on. Yes, it’s opportunistic of me to take advantage of the one day that even the most uncouth dare not bristle at my display of mourning. But I am the daughter of a salesman after all. It’s in my genes.
Love you forever, Daddy.