My dad has died.
Hard words to write. Hard words to live.
As a good friend of mine says, "One foot, other foot."
I write "Momentary Joy" in part because I know just how connected joy and sorrow can be. They're partners, flip sides of the cosmic coin. We grieve because we love.
My dad died at home on Jan. 4. During his illness, we all spent many hours with him and our mom, in the house where they raised the four of us. Looking around those familiar rooms, I thought, there's not a square inch of this house that Dad hasn't touched.
When it came to making a home, my dad was a master: carpenter, plumber, electrician, tiler, painter.
He was also a master dad (and later a master pop-pop). We knew we were loved.
He showed his love through actions -- setting up the train platform every Christmas when we were kids (and resurrecting it for the grandkids); letting us keep our dog for 17 years, despite his allergies; chauffeuring us to countless events, and later patiently teaching all of us to drive; revealing the mysteries of his tool bench to curious grandchildren.
When we moved out on our own, Mom and Dad always welcomed us back home. They loved nothing better than family dinners, whether it was one of my mom's feasts (she is a master cook) or steak sandwiches and pizza from Pizza Box. Come time to leave, we would trade hugs and say, "Love you." In recent years, Dad would add, "a whole big bunch."
My mom and dad were married for 63 years. They met in grade school, and I think he was smitten from the start.
Years ago I came across a memo pad in their house. For some reason I glanced at the backing, and found a love note there from Dad to Mom. While visiting a few months back, I picked up a notepad to jot something down. On a hunch, I looked underneath the pages to the backing, and found another note:
"o x Joey loves Cassie."
Thanks for that, Dad, and for so much more my words can't say.
Love you. A whole big bunch.