i'm at my mom's house for a reunion planning committee meeting (i live in san diego but grew up 1.5 hours inland near riverside and that is where my high school/meetings are)...i probably would have missed this one as we haven't done much since our last one and not many people attended (i didn't know that of course until i drove out here)...anyway, one of the reasons i decided to come out is that the 4 year anniversary of losing my dad is this friday. my mom and sister do all that they can to NOT think about my dad on that day and i just can't relate with that coping mechanism (that is the day i concentrate the most on re-living memories, watching old videos, visiting his favorite places, talking about him, etc.) so we end up spending the anniversary of his death apart. i thought i'd also go by dad's grave tomorrow and be near him in the sense of growing up in this home for the first 18 years of my life (attended the same grade school all 12)...anyway, much of this was on an unconscious level even though the days leading up to this date have been heavy on me most of this month. my sister has very few photos on this computer but this one of my son, story, reminds me of my dad on some intuitive level even more than they look alike...i think if i had to describe it simply, it would be a "quiet inner peace and soft smile"...of course i don't think my sister has any photos of my dad on this computer i'm typing on so i'll have to upload some of those on friday (nearly 24 hours away since i'm cutting this post close to make "wednesday")
...i was going to share one more detail about my husband possibly getting laid off as it relates to my dad and re-prioritizing values and just looking at my life on a little more global level...after we (my husband and i) had a heart to heart about the possibility of him getting laid off, we determined we would hold off on vacation plans, only buy essentials, cut way back on luxuries, etc. so going out to eat at a somewhat upscale restaurant overlooking the water in la jolla (the last meaningful celebration breakfast we had for my dad's 65th birthday...a place that reminds me of him and his love for the water) for breakfast on friday was out of the question. at first i was a little pouty about this and could feel myself "guilting" manuel into making an exception. but he always gives in to me on things i really want or really care about and i realized this decision is not about me or about withholding something i want, it is about US and making decisions that are best for our family. i don't care any less about my dad because i can't spend the first part of "his" day there, even if i've done this as a tradition the times we have been in town on this anniversary. in fact, my dad always made sacrifices and would pack himself PB & J's instead of eating out most of our life to provide more for us...so it is actually more a reflection of him to forgo this...it is probably, per usual, more something I wanted to do than for his memory even if i do feel connected to him there somehow. so instead i am going to take "the" walk from our old apartment down to the bay, sit in front of the ship where he had a cardiac arrest and died and then walk along the bay to seaport village and eat with my children, a close friend and her children. later i will babysit for her while she packs/cleans to move into our neighborhood...that is something my dad would do instead of moping around thinking about his loss...
appropriately, a train is calling out in the distance. it is like my dad speaking to me and happens often in times of acute pain or loss or missing him. i can't really explain it other than a train went by that night when i was holding his hand after he had passed away, probably called out a similar sound and so in some weird way i didn't plan, i felt his spirit pass from his dead body through that sound in the future. my beliefs in the after life don't allow me to believe his spirit ACTUALLY did this, but trains calling out are still comforting to me, a reminder he is always with me and will lead me/show me/talk to me/be with me when i need him. i actually credit God with this peace and am shocked at how calm and un-emotional i feel typing these words. in the first few months and years of losing my dad i had a crazy, tormenting soul-aching pain that i thought could never be healed..."time heals all wounds they say" is true in some ways...i'm in no ways HEALED but so, so much better and "ok" with this loss in a way...i can look forward to reuniting with him and my son can get to know his granddaddy in heaven.
i can't really think of anything more precious to follow that idea.