About this time 17 years ago I was planning my wedding and my father died.
It wasn't unexpected, he had been very sick with a series of issues since I had begun college. I would set goals for him in my mind-- if he can just make it until Christmas, if he can just make it until my graduation, if he can just make it until I return from Europe, if he can...
He died on a Tuesday, 9/15/02 & his memorial was on that following Saturday, the 19th. Since my wedding date was set for 9/19/93 which was the same date as his memorial I moved it to 10/3/93.
As I said, it's been 17 years since he died, but I still haven't gotten over it.
This may be a darker Confession Tuesday, but that's where I am today.
I keep my father's RayBan Aviator's glasses on a shelf in my office that I turned into a little altar. I also keep a photo of him, which a friend thought was an old famous actor. I wish I could remember the name of who she thought he was. In the photo my father is smoking a pipe and wearing a gold (fake) watch. I still have the watch. The pipes are what caused all his illnesses and I couldn't keep them because of the pain they caused us.
It's 17 years later and my father still ends up in my poems. If you would have told me that 17 years after his death, I'd still be grieving, I wouldn't have believed you. It still surprises me how much I miss him. My mum is 75, a healthy 75 and I can't imagine what a mess I'll be when it's her time. I've never been good with loss. It's a reoccurring theme in my poems.
A friend once told me "We're all writing about loss" and I think he's right.
I confess I still wear my father's off-white Izod cardigan. The other day my mum came over and saw me wearing it and said, "Is that because of what time of year it is?" Her way of asking, "Are you wearing that because the anniversary of your father's death is coming up?" My answer, "No, it just makes me happy."
I confess, when I am aware that it's the 15th of September, the day is harder. Usually I just try to scurry through this week without thinking about it. My mum said, "Sometimes you live your life like an ostrich." I can't say I disagree with her. Sometimes I do live my life like an ostrich, but there is something to be said about the quiet.
In memory of Gale A. Russell
(5-14-26 to 9-15-92)