Friday, November 02, 2012

The lost birthday wish

It's been an odd kind of day around here. On the one hand, I was having one of those rare days where everything journalistically and professionally was going my way. I wrote and published stuff I love to write, did live radio on a station I listened to as a child, with hosts I've looked up to virtually forever, all while friends and family back home listened in, and laid the groundwork for the next wave of unbelievably cool work to come. With every message I sent and call I made, I was on my game. And after years of building my little media world to this point, it felt beyond good to be so in control.

On the other hand, it was my dad's birthday today. He would have been 78. And although it's been just over three years since we lost him, days like today always find a way to reach into my soul and squeeze it just a little too tightly.

I don't come from a family that talks. It's not a pejorative thing at all: not everyone is effusive and sharing, and my extended family simply doesn't work that way. So when my thoughts wander to his life before he died, and our family's path immediately afterward, and since, I often find myself navigating the process alone. It'll hit me when I'm walking the dog, driving, skipping a beat in the home office between one deadlined assignment and the next, or sitting in a studio chair waiting for the red light on the camera to go on.

Sometimes I'll seek out a keyboard and write what I'm thinking. Not because I want or need anyone else to read it, but because I need to see the letters on a screen, tangible evidence that I haven't forgotten, that lives continue to matter, deeply, even after they've ended.

I've learned much in the past three years. Learned how much I love my wife, how much I owe her for all she's given me and our kids, how glad I am to have someone who doesn't just listen and talk, but reads my mind and knows exactly what to say and do when life throws us a curve or two. Or three. Or when it serves up unbelievable goodness. She's there for all of it in ways I never knew before I met her.

I've learned who to get closer to and who to avoid. And I've learned that days like today, vanished milestones of sorts, need to be less about lamenting what's been lost and more about appreciating the foundation that those we've lost helped build for us. About how much we've been able to achieve because they were, all too briefly, part of our lives.

I'm not quite there yet, but I'm slowly figuring it out. I'm guessing my father would have been happy to know that.


Mamie said...

Sweet sweet post, Carmi.

I know.

dean said...

My dad has been gone (counting... wow) 25 years now. Those moments you talk about still happen, although not frequently. A few times a year I'll be struck by something, something I'd want to tell him about what one of the kids had done, something like that, and I'll miss him.

As you note, it's part of wisdom.

theMuddledMarketPlace said...

There is a time for lamantations. that is entirely appropriate.

There is also a time to gather our family around us and (standing in the very memories of all who have loved us before and laid those steps for us) move on into all that they who loved us hoped that we would walk into.
And that also is appropriate.

Be blessed as you and your family travel this journey.

fredamans said...


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Good on you for remembering and writing this post, Carmi.