It has been 30 years to the day since my dad died. 30 YEARS! 3/4 of my life! I don’t know which is more sobering, that it is the 30th anniversary of his death . . . or that it has already been 10 years since I pondered the 20th anniversary of his death! It’s crazy to me that many of my younger friends and colleagues never even lived at the same time he was alive, never breathed the same air that he did.
As I do every May 28th, I listened to recordings of Dad’s memorial service and it is so heartwarming to hear from those who knew him at different stages of his life. They all had very different relationships with him, yet clear themes and commonalities are evident throughout their stories.
Were Dad alive, he would be 75 now – and I can’t help but wonder how he would be! He was already quite unyielding; would he now be a crotchety old man, set in his ways? What would he think of the life – and family – I have made for myself? How would he take to his role as grandfather? Would we call him Nonno, after his Italian mother, or Big Daddy, which is what we called his father – or something else entirely?
Crotchety or not, I have a feeling that Dad would have warmed to his grandchild in ways that he never felt permitted to with his son and I really wish he were alive if only to see that side of him – and for all the other reasons too! I wish he could have met my amazing, brilliant, strong partner. I wish our joyful, rambunctious, cheeky two-year-old could have met him.
Our child does get to know him a little bit through pictures and music. On May 28th we always play recordings of Dad singing his favorite folk songs. It helps me remember his voice and makes it possible for my partner and child to hear the voice of someone important they never had the chance to meet in real life.
Our toddler is going through a phase, though, in which the only music he ever wants to hear is different versions of Wheels On The Bus. I’m sure Dad could have done a hell of a rendition of Wheels On The Bus and the fantasy of him singing it dotingly over and over again to his utterly rapt grandchild brings a smile to my face . . . but the sad reality is that Dad just isn’t able to take requests anymore.