Well, it’s my dad’s birthday, and our first one without him. It’s been almost eight months — sometimes it feels like eight seconds, sometimes like eight years — and I miss him every day.
I was officially off of injured reserve today and was able to go out for a careful jog. I was the least athletic of my siblings (understatement), and in the past couple of years he was so bemused and proud of my efforts, so I added in another lap in his honor. When I was a kid during the jogging craze of the 70s, I used to ride my bike while he ran. “My pace car,” he’d huff at amused passersby. He was always a big, strong man, which makes this vintage picture of him all the more hilarious.
I keep my bit of his ashes in a light-up Lord of the Rings goblet, the Aragorn variation. He loved Tolkien so much that he read The Silmarillion multiple times, for fun, and he passed that love onto me at an early age, with a copy of The Hobbit when I was ready for it, and his Vietnam-era Fellowship series at my disposal after that. He really made me the nerd I am today. Anyway, it’s a weird thing, navigating without him. I spend time with my grandmother every weekend, which keeps things a bit more raw than they might be otherwise. On the other hand, I promised him I would do my best to make sure she was alright, so I feel like I have a purpose, like I have to keep myself together for her sake. Fake it ’til you make it, right?
I wondered how I’d feel today, and it feels odd to admit that I’m alright. Sad, sure, but mostly able to remember the really sweet and wonderful things that make me miss him so much. Eight months ago I wondered if I’d ever be alright again, but you know, you get through, meandering step by meandering step.