My dad is a series of sweet memories and the occasional ache of loneliness. He died when I was fifteen and throughout the years I’ve hit mile stones and wished he was there to experience it all with me. I love the way he laughed, how rowdy he was at sporting events and how fiercely he believed in working hard and treating people fairly. I think of him every time I mow the lawn, see a police officer (he served for almost twenty years) or even when I meet someone taller than me. See, since I’m not hanging with the NBA, not many people are taller than me at 5’11’ but my dad was 6’4’’ or 6’6’’. The height depends on who you ask. He taught me to drive. He taught me how to chop wood, make a fire, and walk down steep hills in the forest. He led by example and he loved my mother with a passionate giddiness that softened his strong persona. He whistled a very specific brief tune that I wish to god I’d asked what it was. No one knows but everyone can still hear it and him in their minds.
He was a marine, a cop, a dad, a brother, an uncle, a volunteer, a lover, a friend. More. He was amazing.
I’m still half stuck in the anger part of mourning for my mom. But I was never angry after dad died. He left on a Saturday and the next day I sat with my younger sister in a wooden pew and silently cried for the hour long church meeting; remembering how he sung off key but with pride. With a little coaxing, I’d talk him into sliding his wedding ring off his finger while they passed the sacrament. I’d fit his ring in turn to each of my ten fingers. Loose, even on my thumbs. My daughters get me to take off my ring, then fist their hands closed to keep the ring on their finger and hold it up to the light. The emeralds and diamonds spark light and they dream. I can see it in their eyes. And me? I ache a little, missing him.