“The nights are getting colder. Someday the sun will shine on me.” – Frankie Valli
I started this blog as a way to capture memories and sometimes random thoughts and occasionally dedications. My dad passed away about 12 days ago late one rainy August evening. I’ve been struggling to find the beauty in death. The beauty is there if you frame it correctly. If you see the right things in your mind’s eye or say the right things to yourself. I’m not alone in the struggle, and I also understand that it’s a struggle that goes back to the beginning of mankind.
In many regards, we are simply vessels that carry memories, stories, incidents, and random happenstance with us wherever we go. When a friend or loved one passes on, those memories and stories are scattered among everyone who knew the person. They’re all different, they’re all unique, and they all serve as constant reminders of days gone by, and how quickly those days can go. Honestly, it’s depressingly beautiful to think about.
I think when a parent passes especially, there is a sense of one’s own mortality that creeps in and says “you’re next.” A little bit of that bulletproof glass vanishes, because logically it makes sense for us to view the order of passing generationally. Even though none of us is guaranteed tomorrow, when the generation in front of you starts vanishing then it’s hard not to think that your time is coming at you faster than you want it to.
“Money, I don’t have any
I’m down to my last penny
But darlin’ don’t cry over me.”
My dad’s visitation and viewing is over, the funeral mass has concluded, and the graveside burial is complete. The commotion, the busyness, the stories, the talks, and the friends and family have all departed. The sound of silence has set in. Too dramatic? Probably.
I feel like my wife has held me together with her love and a roll of duct tape the past 6-8 weeks. She asked me what I was feeling last night to which I replied “I’m kind of just here.” Probably not what she wanted to hear. I did tell her this was the first day I hadn’t cried in about three weeks so I guess that’s something to build on. Things don’t seem real. Even as I type these words, my concentration is weak, and my ability to focus or become motivated to work are sorely lacking right now.
It helps to get lost in episodes of “Longmire” or “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” It helps to listen to music or sit on my back patio and watch the 4-6 hummingbirds zip from feeder to feeder defending their turf while chattering away at each other in stern hummingbird lingo. It helps to tap away on the MacBook Air keyboard. And it helps that my wife just sits with me sometimes not speaking a word, yet saying everything in the moment.
I’m looking forward to a beach somewhere once I get past the bills and the paperwork and the insurance and everything that goes along with dying. Who knew dying was so time-consuming and so expensive?
Things will get better. I am sure of this. The nights are already getting better. But there are just times right now when I don’t want it to. I want to soak in the pain just a little longer because it just feels like if I’m happy then that will somehow mean I am forgetting, and thus starting to care a little less. Pretty stupid reasoning. I know this too, and so does every person that has lost a loved one.
It’s a valley right now and it doesn’t feel like I’m going to walk out onto the top of a mountain and into the vibrant sunlight at any moment. No, I feel much more like it’s going to be cloudy and overcast for the foreseeable future. Better grab my umbrella and forge ahead.
Still looks like rain.
“Big man in town
I’m gonna make it, just wait and see
Oh, I’m gonna make it, just wait and see.”
My dad loved the Jersey Boys musical and album. After all, he was a Jersey boy at heart having grown up on the Jersey shore one of six Irish-Catholic siblings where he became one of the greatest athletes in the shore area back in the 50’s. He was definitely a big man in town along the shore area. He was a big man in town in New Orleans where he starred at Tulane University. He was a big man in town at every stop along the way in his wonderful life.
And now, he’s a new big man in town somewhere above the stars and clouds. Up where the sun is shining. Here’s to you, dad.
Thanks for reading.