Revisiting Visits From Grief

It’s been just over three months since my dad’s death – and the storm of activity that preceded, then got amplified, following his last days.

I was thinking about the way in which the 45-minute (each way) weekend drives between home and the care facility where he lived abruptly came to an end.

There weren’t any cool-down laps.

Nor was there consideration of the amount of time and bandwidth I’d have suddenly have access to…

Those trips, which at first felt like – I’m not going to lie here – impositions – grew to become some of the very dearest moments I can imagine ever being blessed with.

The dust, for the most part, has settled. Aside from my nephews moving across oceans or making plans to move closer to this area, the family text group has transformed and gone quieter.

After having him present for over 64 years, I miss my father. I also recognize how influential he and his quirks – which were many and mostly delightful – continue to be…

And while I hate the notion of becoming a “cute” old man, (ugh… don’t get me started!) I can see there’s already indelible writing on that wall.

While I enjoy a few old stories and fond memories, I’m not much for nostalgia. I’m not overly romantic about what came before, nor am I a fan of looking at the rear-view through rosy lenses.

My father, who was indeed big-hearted and generous to a fault, was no more a perfect being than any other flesh and blood human being…

And I miss him.

Whether in moments of quiet stillness, loud gatherings around our dinner table – which he loved for both the food and the company – I miss him.

And, of course, essence of Al can’t help but show up whenever ice cream appears. Homemade chocolate chip cookies do the same thing.

When we were young kids, Al used to tell us an absolutely ridiculous story of how, when he was younger, he played for the New York Yankees. He’d gesture toward his head – bald enough despite a non-functional comb-over consisting of maybe a dozen individual hairs – and say, “I was the ball!”

A common Jewish sentiment shared with families of the deceased is “may his memory be a blessing…”

We knew the Yankees story was just silly fun.

To his credit, though, I think he smacked the memories bit clear out of the park.