Today will be four years since my father passed away unexpectedly. While the pain is not as fresh as it was the evening it happened, deep scars still remain. The scars are healing, but of course, they will forever be present.
It's weird being 42 years old, a father of two and not having a father to chat with, share stories with, talk about the Bruins with and so on and so on. I still talk to #pops, but usually just in my head. Who the hell knows if there's a place where we go after we pass. I hope there is because otherwise, the thought of this being it is pretty lame. So, I'll proceed to think that pops is somewhere, enjoying the view, watching over me and the family.
Over the four years, I've gone through a strange journey of mourning.
The first year was all about angry, deep sadness and the constant asking of the question, "why?"
The second year still was filled with sadness, less anger and the start of scarring, i.e. I'm still wounded, but why isn't everyone else as devastated as I am?
The third year was less sad, filled with some more questions, but it began the process of acceptance and fond remembrance of a man who many loved and enjoyed being around.
With the four year behind me, I've come to the following conclusions:
- While he may not be here, he's always here with me.
- I need to get my shit together when it comes to learning guitar. I promised him I'd learn, and I'm slacking on that. That will have to change.
- He'd be so proud of his grandkids. He'd be a little pissed that two young men have already asked for his eldest panooche (that's what pops called his grandkids) for her number and to attend a dance (that's for a later post).
- I've finally grown a beard and I fucking love it. The kids and wife approve. I think it makes me look ever so like pops, maybe not exactly, but I'll take it. People said he was a good looking dude, so I'll take any advantage I can get. ;)
- I'm 8 years away from being 50 and on pops' 50th bday, we had a great time. I still remember what we got him for gifts, what we did that day, etc. It scares the shit out of me that I'm creeping up on the age pops was when he passed away. Scared. Scared. Scared.
- The above point has gotten me to think about life in a different way. I'm eating better. Exercising more. Making better life decisions. Doing some estate-planning. Basically, doing all the grown up shit that I don't want to do because I have a family that needs me for quite some time.
- My pops wasn't perfect by any means. None of us are. He has his warts, but that's what made him, him...and that's perfectly fine.
- If I can be half the guy he was -- dependable, funny, talented, handy -- I'll do ok.
- I want to leave more to my kids that my pops left me. I'm not talking about money or stuff. I'm talking about memories. I have a ton of memories of pops, but I want my kids to have MUCH more. His legacy is part of mine and I want it to build into a family legacy.
- Finally, I still miss the mother fucker. Horribly. But, I know he's not coming back. He's still there, in my heart, in the eyes of my kids and in the music I listen to.
All of these thoughts made me think about how I've come full circle with grieving. It's like the sun is rising and a new dawn is here. It's a new chapter, one I have to read, learn from and steam towards the next chapter.
And I'm in. All in.
Here comes the sun.