Father’s Day

He had this maroon leather jacket. It was his “fancy” winter coat, sort of shiny, sort of bomber-style and sort of hideous. He must have worn it when he picked me up from the airport because these days I cannot get off a plane in Newark (I travel a fair amount) without picturing him waiting for me right outside security, feet shoulder-width apart, hands behind his back (one holding a newspaper), slight look of amusement on his face, wearing that jacket.

More than two years have gone by since he died. That’s two Thanksgivings, two Christmases, two birthdays, two anniversaries, and two Father’s Days, and they just keep coming. It seems like everything has changed completely but nothing has changed at all. My mom and I have failed miserably to get rid of any of his possessions, clothing especially. I wear a pair of his sweatpants almost every night, I stole a few of his sweatshirts and my sister plans to make quilts out of all his t-shirts but none of us have been able to actually sit down and go through the piles. I still can’t go into his office on the bottom floor of our house, I still can’t open the closet with his clothes in it or look at the dresser with his wallets and watches and other doodads cluttered on top of it. I’m still angry at every medical professional involved in his case, I still wonder how this possibly could have happened, I still can’t let my memory wander into those last two months when he was so unbelievably sick. I still feel weird talking about it with anybody but I still constantly think about him and what he would do or say in every situation. I still feel like I might collapse from missing him so much but I still do it every minute of every day. I still dream about him never having gotten sick, about him getting better, about him in general. I still cannot begin to fathom how much pain my mom must be in.

I suppose I’ve “made progress” in some ways, though. For months the only music I have listened to is on WMTR, an AM radio station that is essentially my father. Their true oldies playlist–Doo Wop, Motown, Sock Hop; no classic rock or corny disco there–combined with that fuzzy old radio sound is one of the only Dad reminders that does not make me want to burst into tears and/or vomit. It actually make me feel, dare I say, better. Like I can experience him through the music, or something corny like that. I can also now look at pictures of him and be pretty much okay, I’ve even been able to watch a video of him (my brother-in-law found it in the Zoe’s First Christmas collection) twice. At the end of the video we’re sitting on the couch singing our song (the Dum-Dum song) to Zoe, and the last 10 seconds is him saying “Every little girl loves that song. It just takes time”.

I do love that song, Dad. I always have.


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