It never gets easier. The hole is always there, waiting to be opened up again. It's all at the surface - or just below - waiting for me to trip across some memory. Waiting for me to remember how many days, weeks, months, years it's all been since we last held hands...since you last called me "Love."
Years. How can it be years?
It is though....long days yield their way to short years. And it still all feels so fresh.
But today - today we celebrate. Because if it wasn't for you, none of us would be here. Not these babies you held in your lap so proudly. Not me. Not my sweet house on a quiet street with the light fixture we wrestled with that hot afternoon that still hangs over the table - just a little dustier now. The memories wouldn't be here of swims in the warm, southern ocean or grilled fish in the evening sunlight in the sweet house by the sea.
Without you, I wouldn't care about golf or tennis. I wouldn't have memories of roller coasters or road trips. I wouldn't know about puzzles or checkers or cards or counting change from the dryer. Toasting bread in the fire on those long, northern winter nights never would have happened. And I never would have learned how to sled or shovel snow or cuss like a sailor when I stubbed my big toe.
Who would have taught me to ride a bike or swim or sing silly songs in the late afternoon light. Who would have tucked me in safe to bed each night when I was always wanting to stay up just a few more minutes. And who ever would I have loved as much as all the stars in the sky and grains of sand in the ocean?
So today, I rejoice in you, Dad. I remember the good and not the bad. I remember the joyful and the sad. We had such great times together - so much time I am grateful for. I only wish we could have carried on that party a little bit longer, just a little bit later into the night...just a few more minutes.
Happy Birthday, Dad. I miss you ever so much.