It's been two and a half years since my dad passed away. I think about him every day. I can't watch a baseball game without him, certain types of music will bring him around, in my dreams he's always at his best: healthy, laughing and real. I do my best to cope with missing him, but today was a hard one. I went to the funeral of a colleague's parent. It's hard to see someone else go through losing a parent and not relive your own loss. At least, for me, it is.
As funerals go, my Dad's was awesome. He would have loved seeing all those people together. It was standing room only and it was a testament to the kind of person he was. Business associates, lodge brothers (he belonged to three, all involving fezes, swords and other strange accoutrements), his childhood friends, his children's friends. The folks from the Senior Citi (that's how my mom says senior citizen center) literally came by busload. It was overwhelming at times, I hadn't seen a lot of those people since I was a teenager and they all had stories to tell. Stories I'd never heard about his life in Cuba, stories I was too young to remember about when I was little, stories that people could barely finish telling because they were laughing too hard. I felt like learned more about him in the week before he died and at his funeral than I learned the whole time he was in my life, which is sad in a way. I treasure these stories. I can't get enough of them. My sister and brother tell the kids stories about their "Papi", who he was and how much he loved them. There are pictures of him all over all our houses. I have a lot of my own stories, some of which have only recently come to the surface of my memory. My mother told a couple at Thanksgiving that I had never heard. She'd had a couple too, that always helps. OK, she'd had five.
I can deal with the fact that one of my nieces will be taller than I am in matter of months and another is already four inches taller. I am ready for the phone to ring and for my sister to regale me with stories about mothering teenagers. I'm even preparing to embark on some home renovations and get an IRA. So, I'm not the baby anymore? I'm OK. I'll always be my Daddy's girl and I wouldn't change a thing.