Today is my dad’s birthday. He would have been 62 years old. I wrote about him a couple of years ago on this blog. The thing I’m sad about the most is that he never got to know me as an adult. I have 3 siblings. I was not a daddy’s girl growing up. My dad wasn’t a daddy’s girl type of dad. My sister Emilie was the clear favorite, and that’s okay. My father owned an asphalt paving construction company and Emilie was always willing to go do dump truck chores with dad. I would rather read a book. Or do homework. Or create family newsletters on the typewriter. My dad was funny. As a kid I didn’t always understand it – he was really sarcastic and I was the most sensitive child. I couldn’t take a teasing, my dad told me that often. He and I would have done better as adults. He died 6 months after I graduated college. I can remember talking to him about which job offer to take – he liked that I went to work for Harrah’s because it was a bigger company and would have more opportunities and would be a safer choice. I remember coming home later after a night out with friends and he was still awake sitting in his rocking chair in the pitch black living room. He startled me by saying hello and then telling me we should have a glass of wine that someone brought us. In my life I had never seen my dad drink anything but Busch Beer out of cans. ”Blue Bottle Riesling” is the first wine I remember drinking and it started that night. I’m sad he didn’t know my husband and sad he wasn’t there to put my marriage ending in perspective. It was in fact his voice I finally heard in my head that made me realize ending my marriage wasn’t the end of the world. I could hear him saying, “Oh Sarah, stop crying about it. Do something about it.” My dad would love that I work for Save-A-Lot grocery stores. It’s a humble company and he always thought I was a little stuck up. He’d be glad I’m doing well. He would think I shop too much, like my mother.
He never even got to know me. Just the silly high school me. The over-sensitive cry baby middle schooler who couldn’t take a joke. He doesn’t know that I’m successful and I have cats and I love Zumba and lived in Louisiana and finally took sewing lessons from my Grandma and make the greatest chocolate chip cookies and that I’m in grad school and that I traveled a lot for work and that I battled unemployment by washing dishes at cooking school and I live in the city.
He would love that I’m going to see Newsies on Broadway in a couple of weeks. He loved the soundtrack to Newsies. Friday nights were dad’s night to drink with his co-workers after work and he would come home and shuffle/dance around the kitchen to the songs. He also loved the Disney Tarzan soundtrack. And he loved Cat Stevens, only later he claimed that he didn’t. That’s a longer story.
This has been a hard Brad week as well. It started this past weekend. I pulled out my Ally McBeal dvd’s to watch while cleaning my room last Saturday and was suddenly overwhelmed with loss. Brad had bought me the Ally McBeal box set. He was everywhere in that minute. It’s ridiculous, I can remember every piece of clothing I ever wore with him, every meal, every bottle of wine. I was suddenly longing for movies he and I watched together (Elizabeth and When Harry Met Sally) and restaurants in Chicago we went to (Chicken Hut – strange, but true). I was swept up in memories of his apartment, what it smelled like (his Snake Peel Axe body wash and cologne – the commercials are true – it’s a sexy smell) and what it looked like in the evening with his solar candle jar on the patio and the glow of all of his electronics lighting up his small living room. I remember what it sounded like as Lake Shore Drive rushed past below and Lake Michigan lapped at the beach just beyond that. It was always cool with the balcony door open. I miss watching movie previews from Apple TV and bad television shows on BBC America on Saturday mornings (there was that was kind of like Hoarders only worse). I miss the wine store and making dinner and this funny way he picked up utensils (he had a flourish – it was very showy) and the fact that he let me fall asleep on top of him cuddled on the couch under this dark red blanket.
I’m caught up in these waves of grief this week. I miss my dad. I miss Brad.
It’s okay to grieve. It’s not crippling me. It’s the right thing to remember them. And miss them. I feel their loss tonight.
Nothing is forever friends. Seize the Day. It’s what the Newsies would have done.
(100 bonus points if you get that.) :)