On the Anniversary of My Father’s Birthday

Today is the anniversary of my dad’s birthday. He died at age 81, yes, I know he lived a full life, but it doesn’t hurt any less when you lose a parent at a “good” age.  He would have been 89 today.

It sounds a bit silly, that I am still counting, now that he is gone, yet I remember my father doing the exact same thing.  He had a yellow legal pad of the birthdays and deaths of his mother and father, and some other relatives that I cannot recall.  I remember him telling me, “Grandma “T’resa” would have been ‘X’ number of years today.” I never knew her as she died when I was an infant, and have really only shadowy memories of my grandfather who died when I was three.

My son never knew my father and that is a shame because as good as he was a father to me, I know he would have shined in the role of “Grandpa”.

My father died after a long battle with prostate cancer and suffered terribly.  I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis the year he died and despite his pain he always asked me “How are you?”  “How are you doing?”  We seemed to be kindred spirits in our pain.  He “got it”, although I think he would have understood even if he didn’t have a chronic illness.

With things so dire right now, between Grant and I s’ illnesses and our financial situation, I often think how things would have been for us had he been alive.  How much I still need him now.

At his funeral, I was pretty much going through the motions, as many people do when they lose a close loved one, and when you look back on it, it’s all kind of a blur. One thing that did stay with me was something the priest said at the funeral mass.  That God had a room for my father in Heaven.  I pictured Heaven as a kind of modern, sketchy mansion with an endless amount of plain rooms, each with a person in it, and it comforted me.

It still does, I guess.  I try to teach Tyler that Grandpa Joe lives up in Heaven.  He is the grandpa that Tyler cannot see but is always watching over him.  Since Tyler has been alive we have lost two fish and two cats and to comfort Tyler I tell him that they are up in Heaven with Grandpa Joe and he’s got the fish in the fish bowl in his room and he plays with the kitties and they are all happy and don’t feel any pain.

I’m not sure if Tyler sees the picture but I sure do.  Happy birthday, Daddy, in your room in Heaven.

My father walking me down the aisle, his hair growing back after the latest round of chemo.  Thank you for living to see my wedding, daddy, it meant the world to me.

My father walking me down the aisle, his hair growing back after the latest round of chemo. Thank you for living to see my wedding, daddy, it meant the world to me.