Some days you can go for the entire day without remembering those you have lost and sometimes the loss of that one person haunts you without meaning to. People come in and out of our lives on a regular basis. They touch us and go and sometimes it is in the going that they leave that profound change - a piece that makes you into a different person entirely by their loss. You think about where you could have been and what you might have been if you had not lost their influence.
Today is one of those days where the loss seems most prominate and the most touching to who I am and what I have become and even the future of my life. I would say that most of the time, I shove those memories aside, push them down, but today with a single word, twenty years disappears like nothing and memories are there - right where you can touch them.
Twenty years ago today, I lost my Dad. I was only fifteen at the time - just a baby really. (And yes, you can do the math easily and figure out how old I am - so boo to you.) Of course that is all in perspective. My son would think I was so old from his stand point. But then Monkey was just as young as my younger brother, Bumper, would have been when my dad died. I can't imagine being Monkey's age and having lost my Dad. How devastating.
Twenty years though seems like a very long time to still be grieving for someone. Though I suppose grieving in terms of what people might think is not what I mean. That traditional sense of loss remains. I never had him there when I graduated from high school or college or to walk me down the aisle or any of those momentous events that you really consider sharing with your Dad when you're a girl. I never had him hold my son and feel his pride when I stood up for myself when I got divorced or his rage at my ex. I miss having those things - sharing those positive events with someone, making those father/daughter memories.
I miss him too. He was larger than life in my mind. Always toweringly tall and smelling of his own special scent and wanting to hug me when he was all sweaty and had come in from running. I remember dark suits and red ties and sitting with him at the dinner table. He was not an angry, yelling Dad - more the peacemaker than my mom was. But at times those memories seem so far away and yet at the same time so touchable.
I got to do a lot of the things I did in my life because he wasn't around. I traveled to England to meet some strange guy I only knew over the internet because my Dad wasn't there to go completely and utterly ballistic over the action. I got to stay where I live currently because his job didn't move us to Texas. I got to go to a private Catholic college and study to be a teacher because he wasn't here to push me into something far more demanding and intellectual such as a doctor or a lawyer (his preference). I got to marry said strange guy from England because my Dad wasn't around. I wouldn't push myself so hard to try and lose weight and keep in shape if I hadn't lost him to a heart attack. All of things have made me who I am and I wouldn't be the same without these events and I like who I am.
I do wish I could have the best of both worlds on the other hand, but if wishes were horses than beggars would ride. I am who I am. I have my son and my job and my own slice of contentment.
But I still miss my Dad. Love you Daddy. I'll always be your little girl.