I got a bit mixed up today. First, while at my mom’s (letting Sophie do some chores while I stole a few quarters) I unexpectedly came upon the receptacle of my father’s remains. It was a simple, solid, handsome and surprisingly heavy object – and something I think he would have liked. When I think of cremated remains I remember the small series of hilarious scenes from The Big Lebowski; one of our family’s favorite films and vignettes my father himself laughed at.
There were photographs floating about the house, too, ones I hadn’t seen in years, if ever. Unfair. Sad. I miss him. The “missing” has not changed one ounce; if anything it is more painful in it’s perpetual truth: “Hi, still here! Hey, you still don’t get to see him anymore, ever. Finis.” Today I was realizing as I drove along Riverside that the arguments I used to have with him, well, those were gone too. No one was going to challenge me about the stuff he challenged me about. My occasional exasperations with him now seemed petty and I find it an irony that I would wish for them again. Hey, I’m still glad I lived them out, thought of him as a pain in the ass at times, and often – and this is my own legacy in my family – sought to “agree to disagree.”*
Tonight I forgot if my father’s death preceded my anniversary this year and had to double-check. I have been thinking about seven years of marriage and almost as many of family and feeling very proud of myself and my husband. My kids are great. They are healthy, smart, social, relaxed, enjoy a tremendous amount of freedom, and are a constant source of joy. My husband is a hero and my friend. He has my respect but, unfortunately, weathers many of my bad habits. My life has been transformed through difficulties and good fortune both. I am happy with what I have learned and energized to do the work I do every day. I have proven myself in areas I had no idea I had strengths. I have failed in areas that have instructed me, painfully, of my limitations. I feel strong enough that it might be OK to fail again, to make mistakes, which is something I wasn’t strong enough for say, three years ago.
* My friends know I actually got this doctrine from the film Anchorman.