The candle has been lit for dad’s yarhzheit and the memories are flowing through my head as is the end of Gladiator which feels absolutely appropriate and not quite right as well.
Maybe I ought to use the end of Shane because in some ways it is more fitting, though the truth is dad liked both movies.
In this case I suppose I am the kid calling Shane to come back and like the movie all you hear is me yelling but there is no response.
No more calls returned or emails suggesting I read a particular book or article. No bad jokes, just memories and a continued opportunity to figure it all out on my own.
We talked about this point a while back and dad smiled and told me he had already taught me what to do and how to live.
“If you don’t know it by now you never will. You’ll be fine.”
I remember nodding my head and smiling back. “You know I don’t always do it my way.”
He fell asleep moments later and I took out my pocket knife and shuffled it from hand to hand, thinking about how when I was little he told me boys in the midwest always carried pocket knives.
“You were born in Los Angeles and so was I, but I guess carrying a pocket knife can be useful.”
Sometimes I talk to his picture and tell him a story or two.
Told him his grandson would have enjoyed his company and filled in the gaps on whatever he missed here.
People tell me there is an ocean of grief and sometimes you sail through still waters and sometimes stormy.
Most days I am the rock because it is what I was made to be but there are moments where it is clear water cuts through everything.
Moments where emotion and intellect argue because I know he is gone yet I keep think I am going to see him. Moments where I figure there is something I missed and when I figure it out I’ll find him.
Foolish male bravado where I figure I can do the same thing the heroes of mythology did and walk right into Hades.
I can grab his elder grandsons and we’ll deal with Cerberus and then force Charon to take us across and if Hades decides to intervene I’ll help him understand why it is a mistake.
Might not be the most graceful man, but demolition is still a friend.
Yeah, it is silly nonsense and some songs add/subtract to and from it but some times feelings lead you down the road not taken.
Logic tells me to take a deep breath and remember that almost 75 isn’t tragically young. Dad saw us all grow up and get married.
He knew all of his grandchildren, some of them long enough to see them grow into their teenage years which is a gift not everyone gets.
But these moments I refer to, well they don’t feed off of logic or reason so I have to just roll with them.
Twenty-Five Years Used To Sound Like Forever
I don’t expect to only live 25 more years because I still expect genetics, better medical tech and my personal efforts will give me many more than that.
But sometimes I wonder what if.
Sometimes I wonder what the best choices are if all I have are 25 more years. The boys and I talk about it sometimes.
More than a few of us have become members of the lost one or more parents club and have had that/other reasons to consider our mortality.
What if two thirds of life is over and we are approaching a time where it is practical to expect our health to change in ways we might prefer it not.
There are no rewards or benefits to having a giant prostate or any number of other little ailments.
Maybe that is why it is more important than ever to start turning the ship in the direction we most want to head, even if it means some of the time we have fight to go up wind.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.