Daddy and Jim were always talking about camaras.
I’ve noticed for the past week or so that I’ve felt inexplicably blue. Even though they come around every year, somehow the anniversaries always seems to sneak up on me. In 1993, my dad passed away suddenly on June 13, and in 1999, my sister-in-law was killed in a tragic car accident on June 9. So, even though I know that early June comes after late May, somehow it always takes me by surprise.
It was 20 years ago today that my daddy passed away. Elizabeth was four-and-a-half and she was devastated at the loss of her Dada. They were so close, and even now, at 24, she has memories of times shared with him.
Quite the artist even at an early age, she drew a picture of her Dada “going up to heaven” for my mom, which years later we had framed for her at Christmas. When Elizabeth was little she would remember, “When Dada was still on land … ” and sometimes we still say that we wish he were back “on land.”
He’s been gone a whole lifetime now. Enough time for my girls to grow up to be adults without him in their lives.
Here are some things he’s missed; one for each year he’s been gone, in no particular order.
- The Internet — He was a lifelong learner. I get my ability to teach myself things from him. He’d have been endlessly fascinated by the Internet.
- Email — I’m guessing this would have been a bit like the telephone, which he hated. He answered it when he had to. I think he wouldn’t have been a huge fan of email.
- The iPhone — He’d have been an iPhone user for sure and would have loved downloading apps.
- Windows — I think he’d have ended up being a Mac user, but the computer he was using at the time he died was pre-Windows.
- The comeback of Apple — He had a Mac in the `90s, but got the PC due to compatibility issues with software. I think he’d have definitely been a Mac user. After all, he was a Betamax fan.
- All but three of his nine grandchildren — He loved them so much and truly delighted in them. He spent quality time talking to them and teaching them. It breaks my heart that six of my nieces and nephews never shared the earth with him.
- School — He never saw one of them start school. He’d have been much better at helping with math than I was.
- Teenage years — I’m not sure how this would have gone; I know he’d have rolled his eyes at MmmBop and Justin Bieber would have made him barf.
- Driving — Even as an adult, I hated driving with him in the car; he would constantly criticize my driving. In fact, no one could drive as well as he could, in his estimation. I bet my girls would have gotten away with much more than I ever did.
- Boyfriends — Not sure how well he’d have done with boyfriends, but he was a great judge of character.
- Graduations — Tears.
- College — Tears.
- Weddings — More tears. Yes, he was a crier, just like me.
- Cheerleading — I think he’d have enjoyed watching them compete, but he’d also have given me tons of crap for how much time it took and how expensive it was. Still, seeing his granddaughters on ESPN would have thrilled him.
- The death of my sister-in-law — I think he’d have been a tremendous support for my brother in a difficult time, and would be thrilled that he found love a second time. But it would have devastated him.
- My breast cancer and my sister’s melanoma — He’d have been strong and reassuring for us, would have researched it and provided knowledgeable and educated counsel and encouragement. And, in private he’d have cried his eyes out.
- My career change (from audiology to online communications) — He’d have been fully supportive; he always thought I should be a professional editor and often gave me orthodontic journal articles he was working on to edit.
- Proms — I think he’d have gotten choked up to see the girls all dressed up like that.
- The girls learning to water ski — as much as he loved the lake, this would have given him endless joy, and he’d have been happy to spend days on end pulling them. He was especially good at dragging the rope right to the skier, so they’d have been spoiled.
- Game Six of the 2011 World Series — Oh, how I wish I could have shared that with him. Not to mention the win.
The loss becomes less acute over the years, but the wistful feelings never quite go away. There’s always the wish that he could have shared in the joyful times, the craving for his comfort in the trials, and the desire for his wise counsel in the midst of important decisions.
If I could talk to him today, I’d say,
Daddy, congratulations on your 20th anniversary in heaven. I can’t imagine how awesome it must be. We miss you every day, think of you often and heed your wise words more than you ever knew we would. You were loved, respected, and revered by many, and, now missed by many. You wouldn’t believe how grown up the girls are, and how Little Tik and Teeny Tik (my spelling because this is my website) have grown up to be brilliant, beautiful young women you’d be so proud of. And Jim could really use your encouragement right now with this job thing, because it sucks. And, yeah, I know you’d probably say “potty mouth” for that, but, sorry, it just does. And, Daddy, our Cardinals are doing so great, and I remember everything you ever taught me, how you’d explain things as we watched. So now I explain them to Jim while we watch the games, like you did for me. And I’ve still never seen anyone hit for a cycle.
Most of all, even though I miss you terribly, I love you too much to wish you were anywhere but Heaven. Tell Stan the Man hi for me, ok? I’ll see you again someday.
Love, Tik (With a K, you know)