This vacation reminded me of you. It could have been the same beach where we took our last trip as a family. And though it has been close to twenty years since that vacation, I remember it all like it was yesterday. Don’t be sad, because I am not.
When my heart fills up with joy, that’s when I feel you. If there are tears, it is because you are with me always and that makes me happy.
That trip, you woke me up one morning, a wide grin spread across your face. I don’t know if the sun was up, but if it was, it had just started to spread its light across the water and the rest of the sky was barely illuminated. You had brought me some tiny sea creatures that you had captured in your coffee mug and the sound of them swimming around in there made a tinny clink, clink, clink. I heard the sound before I was fully awake, and marveled at the childlike joy on your face when I opened my eyes. It had been a while since I had seen you feeling well enough to muster this kind of energy. You lead me out onto the beach before anyone else was awake, tiptoeing past a sleeping mama and brother and sister. It was just us two.
If I had known you would be paralyzed from the tumor growing inside of you in only three months, and completely gone from this earth in four months, I would have savored each moment a little longer. But I was just twelve. So, Dad, please know that I did the best I could. I knew that moment was special and I thank you for that.
Here is the man I married. You didn’t get to meet him, but trust me, you would have loved him… and probably stayed up late arguing with him in a loud, dramatic tone about organized religion and politics and social responsibility. Come to think of it, you two would have agreed on all of that. He’s like you in a lot of ways. Like, he does stuff like this just to scare the bejeezes out of me:
And thanks to you, Dad, I knew a good thing when I saw it and didn’t let him get away. He’s really fantastic and tender-hearted and he takes really good care of me and your grandsons.
And speaking of grandsons, this one got your temper:
Well, and this one did too (he will probably throw a plate against the wall at some point in his life, and I will tell him that you once did that… but that you were the greatest man I knew):
And this one actually looks a lot like you when you were a baby, and maybe he’s like you in other ways too:
… I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
This is my life. I miss you. But I am happy.