Dad died in April, 2002. Or maybe it was 2001? No, definitely 2002 because i remember talking with him about the attacks on September 11th. It does require thought now to pin down the dates because i have started to lose lock on those sorts of details. i don’t think it means i’ve stopped missing him, just that it was a pretty long time ago – and maybe my memory is starting to go.
The latest family scuffle got me thinking about all of the things that Dad didn’t get to see because he was the first one to check out of the Trailer Park.
– LC, my niece DQ’s first husband disappearing with half his gun collection after leaving a rather threatening note. Dad also missed the arrest, trial and four years of jail time that LC served for the crime that triggered his sudden departure. That was a good bit of trailer park drama. At the time of Dad’s death, he considered LC as his son, and greatly appreciated how hard he worked to take care of the house for him and Mom.
– My divorce in 2006. At the time of Dad’s death, EJR (my ex) had moved to our vacation place, had started his own consulting business, and only came home when i was scheduled to travel – but we were still married. Dad liked EJR from the first time i brought him home. i was 19, EJR was 26. We were visiting so i could tell my parents that i was moving in with EJR, and that i would no longer need (or accept) financial support from them for my schooling. When Dad died, he and i were the only two members of our family who had not been divorced*. Ooops.
– Mom’s bypass surgery. Other than a brief hospitalization for pneumonia (while Dad was going through chemo), Mom had generally had no health problems until after he died. Which is pretty amazing considering her diet of processed food, gravy, salt, potato chips and ice cream.
– Grandchildren graduating from high school. My daughter graduated in 2004. Despite the fact that there are four older grandchildren (DQ, her step-sister JS, and the two oldest daughters of my brother), none of them had actually managed to attend a high school commencement ceremony. All of them eventually completed high school, through either correspondence or equivalency degree. Mom went to The Girl’s ceremony, though. And when The Boy graduated in 2007? The only reason he participated in the ceremony was for Mom.
– The least-athletic child he had completing a half-marathon. That’d be me. My feet are still pissed off about that…
– My sister, T’s, selection as Dean of the Graduate School at her university. As much as Dad valued education? i think he’d have been proud. Mom and the rest of the family don’t know enough about academia to appreciate the achievement.
– The Girl (aka “Danger Monkey) and her world travels. She started with her ‘sailing around the world’ adventure in 2007, followed by a stint in Morocco in 2008 and her semester in Beirut, Lebanon last year. He’d have enjoyed her travel tales.
– DQ’s “wild phase” and subsequent marriage to an 18 year old, BJ. DQ was in her early 30’s at the time. Before BJ, she dated a 300 pound high school senior who only stopped beating DQ up when Mom intervened. But the marriage to BJ has been ok. So far. He’s a good human being, just has bad taste in women**.
– My sister, S, dealing with a pesky breast cancer nugget. Oh, yeah. Me, too a few years later.
– After 3 packs a day for over 60 years, Mom quit smoking a month before bypass surgery in 2008. Dad quit cold-turkey shortly after the U.S. Surgeon General changed the warning on cigarette packages from “Smoking may be hazardous to your health” to “Smoking is hazardous to your health” – some time in the 1970’s. He never complained about Mom’s smoking, though. He’d have been happy that she quit.
There’s more. More than i can cough up while sitting at my gate at the airport, waiting to catch another flight. Sure. There were some good things. Things he’d have enjoyed. Moments of fun. i certainly would have appreciated his counsel over the last few years.
But i don’t know… The more i think about it, maybe he checked out at a pretty good time…
* Even my lesbitarian sister had a short ‘starter-marriage’. She married a Palestinian taxi driver she met in San Francisco after knowing him about 3 months. Somewhere around the height of the first Gulf War.
** i say the same thing about my ex-husband.