Saturday, August 20, 2016

SOTC 209/365

Photo Scavenger Hunt: Red (SOTC 209/365)

SOTC 208/365

In Hastings Lake, Alberta, I seem to have found a new photographic gem.

Something Like Rorschach (SOTC 208/365)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Every Day

I don't speak of if often.
I tend to keep so many stories my own.
Plus, it can be an uncomfortable topic of conversation in certain social circles.
And it's not exactly something I share in common with my friends.
But it was life-altering.
Sometimes you don't realize how much so until you look back over time.

...Today marks the day my father passed away, a full decade ago.* Even as early as January and February, I started to find myself thinking, "ten years; my goodness." It's amazing what changes and what stays the same over the course of a decade.

I have seen many individuals mark the anniversary of a loved one's passing with some sort of yearly ritual--a changed profile picture; a special activity; simply taking the day. For me, that tradition hasn't really ever been a part of my grief story.

Don't get me wrong; I do think about him on this day, and it is certainly important. But I think about him every day. 3,653 days he has crossed my mind, either fleetingly or all-consumingly. And in nearly 1/3 of my life without him, I've learned that it's not the obvious occasions where I miss him the most, or that catch me by surprise. It's every other day around them.

It's the amputee I see at the mall.

It's the red Chevrolet I see on the road.

It's making spaghetti from scratch.

It's picking the cantaloupe out of my fruit salad.

It's driving in Calgary.

It's that photo of his that eerily resembles one of mine.

It's when he's in my dreams and I wake up to find he's just out of reach.

It's watching my friends with their dads.

It's milk and sweetener in my coffee.

It's cleaning the house with music at full volume.

It's Yiddish colloquialisms.

It's olive skin and brown eyes.

It's the Beatles and the Beach Boys.

These moments are endless. These moments that remind me of experiences we shared, ways he acted, traits he passed on. The past infiltrating my present. And on the flip side, the life events that happen to me now leave me looking for him when I least expect it.

Dad, there are these great people I want you to know.
Dad, what do you think of my new kitchen?
Dad, why haven't you texted me lately?

There are so many questions I will never know the answer to. There are ten years of stories I haven't told him, and many more years of stories to come.

What is it to mark his passing one day a year when I face it day by day?

Somewhere along the way I found that I needed to honour the moments as they came. And it probably takes a different kind of energy than finding a single tradition with which to honour him each year. But the moments are going to come anyway, and for me it has been a meaningful way to connect his memory to my present.

And so I make the spaghetti; I listen to the Beatles; I enjoy the drive; I tell friends about the things we did together; I take the photographs.

And sometimes I still miss him.

And sometimes I still wish I could have a conversation with him.

And sometimes I just wish he was RIGHT.HERE.

But more often than not, the memories are an embrace instead of an ache. A reminder of the man who helped shape the woman I am today, both when he was alive, and after he passed. And a man who continues to do so.

Every day.

* It is also the anniversary of my parents' wedding. I actually find the shared occasion of this date to be beautiful in its own way, but I digress.