You see, many people think, "Well, he was old." or, "He lived his life." But he wasn't that old, just 66. In fact, one of his best friends started a new business at 65 and basically jumped back into the work force out of retirement because he loves a challenge. 66 is young. Others have said to me, "Give it a month, and you won't feel so sad."
Really? A month? Now, don't get me wrong, that may be just the right time for the person handing out that advice, but I won't put a time limit on grief. On the other hand, I was told by my friend, Clover, that grief is like the seasons, it comes and it goes, and that it may for the rest of my life. And you know? I'm o.k. with that; because I'm not living my life in devotion to the memory of one who has died. Quite the contrary, losing someone has made me appreciate the small and the simple.
Because it is in the small and simple where joy resides.
For instance, every time my son gets his hair cut
really short, you can see the outline of his little head underneath, and guess what? It looks exactly like my dad's. He also has this little-twinkly-mischievous grin when he's getting ready to crack a joke that looks exactly like Dad too.
Every time I open a Diet Coke, eat a tuna sandwich, or spread some butter (not margarine! Heaven forbid!) on toast, I'm also reminded of the man who taught me how to love unconditionally, be generous, pay attention to oncoming cars and walk everyday.
You see, there can be no sweet experiences without the bitter ones or else how would be be able to put them into perspective at all? Or in the words of Mr. Gibran:
"Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is it not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are sorrowful look into your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."
So, raise a glass/can of Diet Coke/whatever you choose, because here's to my darling dad. Here's to his love of friends, family, and hard work. Here's to his laughter, his joy, and his pain. Here's to tuna sandwiches, m&m's, butter, ice cream, donuts, walking, basketball at the Y, bicycle riding in the summer, reading a good book, messing it up, and then getting it right.
Here's to enjoying to the end.
Here's to life.