He died when I was twenty-two, so this year it's official or at least poetically so...he's now been gone longer than I ever knew him. In just under a month he would be 73. That age does not compute for me. In our family we siblings talk about crossing a somewhat ominous threshold....that of finally reaching the age he was when he left us...of outliving dad. Because I am the oldest, I will get there (or not get there) first. Not everyone in the family finds this discussion as funny as we brothers do. But it's nearly impossible, at this point, to let it go undiscussed.
On this anniversary of his passing I share five things,
some of them reminiscent of his passing, some reminiscent of his living:
A picture at the graveside service.
We have precious few (like 4) pictures of that day.
Five of us are there (sans Kolby who was in Chile, an irreversible regret)
The April 28 funeral program.
I like to be reminded of the names of people who were there,
who participated, who loved this guy.
A scan of a "bereavement booklet" that someone gave to my sisters.
The page I captured was Ana's.
It's a glimpse of what grief looks like for a 9 year-old. Poignant, priceless.
The apple cider press...a relic of his past. I've tried to get rid of this heirloom many times, much to the chagrin and resistance of my mother. I know...she's right on this matter. This handcrafted masterpiece does one thing only: it makes juice. That's it. It's heavy, awkward and takes up space. But it's an embodiment of his craftsmanship and an inexplicable desire to do things differently, maybe even old school. Perhaps it was how he hoped to stay connected to a disappearing era.
A singular favorite picture of him, at the MTC, March 1989. He had lost some weight. And while he was never given to stylish dressing, in this pic he just looks great. He looks healthy, he looks happy. And, sadly, in three years he would be gone. I cannot look at this picture, ponder its substance, and not feel the flood of emotion. Oy...