Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Birthday Letter

Lots of things have been popping up lately that remind me of you, Dad.
I'll tell you about them.

The new James Bond movie comes out this Friday. With Daniel Craig. I'll let you know how it is.
You and Mom would have liked to have gone and seen this one in the theatre. It looks like it has some great action and effects. You would love the song, sung by Adele. You would love Adele, I know I would have already bought you a CD of hers.

The U.S. election was last week. You would have been following this pretty closely over the past year or so. You would have told me all Mitt's secrets, things that no one else would have known. I would have bought you copies of the New Yorker to read all about the GOP and you would have sharpened your arguments, your opinions.

The hurricane. You would have been able to fill me in on all the devestation, point by point. You would have wanted to know exactly where in Conneticut Mike's family lives, and if they were all okay. I would have assured you of the safety our my friend L. and Mike's cousin A. in NYC. You would have been glad that anyone we knew and any family of Mike's was alright.

You would have just joined Mom, most likely, on Hallowe'en night, helping the kids go door to door for candy, and taken masses of pictures. They miss you lots. They ask about you all the time. I tell them funny stories and we talk about Shadow. We look at the pictures on my fridge, from happier times. When they are not looking, I tear up.

Mom misses you alot, but doesn't talk about it much. I think she's afraid too, afraid of her own pain. I don't press the issue, but I try to leave the door open. I called her on your wedding anniversary to let her know I was thinking about that day.  She was uncharacteristically down. Normally, no matter what, she remains cheerful and tries to think about others.  Not on October 10th. She said she'd already had her cry in the morning and that now there are 'no more anniversaries'.  I reminded her that the significance of the wedding day will never diminish. She sometimes tells me how she talks to you everyday and wishes you were in the apartment with her. She thinks you would have loved it.
I think so too. You would have gone walking near the water every single day. You would have met lots of people in your walks already. You would have challenged yourself walking the huge hills in the Beaches. You would have loved to see the changing seasons here.

I guess you know but we sprinkled some of your ashes into the lake on Father's Day. It was a sad day, but we knew you would have liked to have been in the water. When I go running now, it's one of my favourite routes. I also whisper a hello to you as I run by and most times, I take a break and walk out into the sand to stand near that little inlet of water. I don't worry about getting sand in my shoes. You would have told me not to worry about that. "You can shake it out later, that's all." That's what you would have said. Now, when I say "That's all." I think of you. You always said that as a way of illustrating a point that was simple. Moot, as you once taught me.

I chanelled your calm yesterday when dealing with a really difficult (older, rich) client. He was confused about something, but insistent. I simply let him win the argument. It was nice to think about how you never worried about petty things like this, as so many of my clients with money do. You always reminded me to not let money be my master. It's been good, solid advice, and I never got to thank you for that.  The client complimented my scarf as we were leaving his newly-renovated condo, the way you would have.  "Green suits you", he said, not looking at me. I had a strong memory of you then. I asked if his kids help out as him and his wife get older. He shook his head.  "They have their own life; they come first".  I thought, with pride, about how you could have answered this question should someone have asked.  You would not have had to say something like that.

On Sunday, an NFL coach with cancer gave a locker-room speech to his team about circumstances versus vision. Circumstance being that yes, he has cancer, vision being that he wants to see two more of his daughters get married and dance at their weddings (he actually said "weddins" a little American spin thrown down on the word) but I cried shamelessly, alone, at that sentence. I realized that toward the end we had talked about so much, but we never talked about that. Maybe we both knew that such a discussion would have been too painful. Maybe we were both just grateful for even having the time we had to just talk about the weather, and our crazy family, and the mystery of faith. I didn't dwell on the fact that you would not live to see me married. The dream I had before my wedding assured me that you were in fact there, in your own way, as much as you could be.

I finally read the last two articles you mailed to me, one from the Toronto Sun, which I always nagged you about reading (I think I referred to it as "junk writing"), about car insurance and one from Macleans, about running.  I am going to call my insurance company and discuss some of the great points in the article you sent, written by a lawyer. I'm sorry I couldn't get up to the task of reading them earlier. I was, perhaps, in a strange way, saving them for later. You had your customary little note in the envelope, your writing all in caps, as mine always is. You always ended your notes with a wide smiley face, a signature doodle.

I fell at work last week, but I guess you already know that. There is no other way to describe that a fall on concrete, a hit on the head, my left elbow breaking my fall a bit, but nothing more than bruises and a bit of a strain. How is that possible? It just is, that's all.

So, I'll sign off for now. Not sure what the plan is for the 13th. I think Mike should be in Canada by then. If you were here we'd all have dinner together somewhere, with Mom too, of course. You could regale Mike with election tales you'd heard. You could impress him with your knowledge of U.S. politics. Not that you ever need to impress. You just had to be yourself.

You taught me that, too.

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