This won’t be my last post about all of this. But I’m putting a period on a 4.5 month sentence today. I knew I would. With the way life happened and with all the life that has happened since we got that phone call on that Saturday night and heard the news. That you. You were the news. You leaving was the news. I had this day in my mind almost as soon as I got my mind back. So I’m putting a period on a sentence today.
It’s a hell of a sentence by the way. Faulkner and Joyce turned a sentence into pages; this one’s days, weeks, months. And also lifetimes.
Death sucks. It warps the world. It bends time. It confuses the senses and it makes no damn sense. It’s like a Dali painting in some ways.
For you, it sucks because of all the things you didn’t get to do. All the things you didn’t get to resolve. All the things you didn’t get to finish. See. Taste. Address. For most other people death also sucks for all the little things you didn’t get to do: shower, shave, comb your hair, put your shoes away, make sure your wallet was in its place, meticulously organize your entire estate so nobody who followed up on anything had to worry a lick about anything. You know. Big and small things.
Death sucks for me, for mom, for Tita, for all the rest of us, death sucks for all the things we will do without you. Forever. That’s the bottom line. Death sucks if we focus on all the things we will do without you. Crushingly sucks.
But it doesn’t have to. I’m so focused on the fact that it doesn’t have to.
Death sucks when we live in a Janet Jackson world of “what have you done for me lately”. Death sucking is so much of what’s wrong with our world. We forget how we got here. We forget what made us. We forget what we loved. What we enjoyed. What we experienced. For all the recycling bins out there, we still dispose at order of magnitudes more than we reuse. More than we recycle.
More than we relive.
I’m not advocating living in the past. That’s not healthy either. I am advocating appreciating the hell out of it though. Every day has to start with thank you, not a to do list. Only when you start that day off with a thank you, and subtle nod to everything in the past, does death suck less.
I’ve got an amazing wife.
I’ve got ridiculous kids.
I’ve got Mumma.
I’ve got Tita.
I’ve got in-laws who, well, I’ve got folks. Just more folks.
I’m pursuing (finally) some of the things I love in the hours between those kids, that wife, that life.
I’ve got …
…and that ellipsis can go on for days. I could keep going and not have space, time, need for a period. (Absalom! Absalom!)
I’m not advocating living in the past. I’m advocating that never ever forget that today is the product of an infinite set of moments and yesterdays — and you, Daddy, were essential to all of those.
It starts there. It really, truly, so ridiculously honestly helps, to start there.
It’s also important not to end there. Yes. There are a million things I see every day that make me think of you. Whether it’s how your granddaughter eats cherries. Or how your grandson ensures he has a good time at every party. You’ve got your legacy. And it’s $%&*’ing wonderful.
But sometimes, that’s what makes death suck even more. You’re so visibly here and you’re so clearly not here.
But there’s a moment when it doesn’t, Daddy. There’s this amazing moment when it doesn’t.
It’s when I hop on the elliptical (not enough).
It’s when I make a ridiculous dad joke (too much).
It’s when I make practical sense of emotional nonsense at work (no comment).
It’s when I try and make sure that Priya feels the way that Mom always felt (I failed at that pretty hard a couple of weeks ago, btw, you’d have hated that.)
It’s when I focus less on emulating on, less on recognizing you, and more on honoring you. Honestly.
Just trying to do the things that would have make you smile.
It’s what works for me.
I don’t know what works for anyone else.
But it’s what works for me. I can’t forget this, you. As long as I remember to say thank you every morning, and to honor your spirit every day, you are simply: persistent.
Like time. Time is persistent. Time is stubborn. It doesn’t care what else is happening in the world. It just keeps moving. It can warp. It can bend. It can feel too short and it can feel eternal. But in the end, all time does is keep moving forward.
That’s what made me think of that silly painting that every college student had in their dorm room or at least, on their floor.
The front of that painting is disturbing, warped, bent, liquid, fluid. But meticulously done. Precise. I bet you read about this already, Daddy. But Dali was meticulous and deliberate about every stroke in a manic way. That’s time. That’s today. Warped. Bent. Fluid, Strewn about and exhausted.
But the back of that painting is time too. It’s fixed. It’s beautiful. It’s stunning. It’s Catalonia. It’s Dali’s home. It’s alright.
Happy Father’s Day. For all the warping that’s been in front of us these past 4.5 months, Daddy, I’ll tell you. You’re Catalonia. You’re Catalonia when I look back, and starting today, deliberately, painstakingly, in a way that would make Dali proud, you’re Catalonia when I look forward.
I love you. I’ll do better. You’ll be proud. We’ll move forward. Death sucks. Until it doesn’t. Until we make it not.
We’ll make it not.