June 7: Remembering Dad

Today is the first anniversary of my dad's death. You're probably thinking you can't believe it was just a year ago, but be assured that the time has done anything but fly for me and Kathy. Even though we've had some really wonderful things happen in the past year, so much of it is overshadowed by the sadness of being unable to share them with Dad. He loved hearing about our projects around the house, traveling, his grandchildren's accomplishments, and so many other things about our busy-ness. There is still such a void without him here.

I've been trying to decide the best way to comemmorate today. I thought about planting a tree in honor of Dad, but for a number of reasons it just doesn't seem like the right thing (besides the fact that he'd forever be pointing down--or up???--at me complaining that I don't weed around it often enough). There hasn't been anything that's hit me as The Perfect Thing. Then this morning I had an epiphany: I'll spend the day, not as Dad would WANT me to, but as HE would've done. So here's what I'll do:

  1. Start the day with coffee at Shari's
  2. Love the New York Yankees, hate all other baseball teams, and fall asleep while watching them play
  3. Be cruel to service people for no good reason
  4. Answer the phone, "Number 72"
  5. Have a really stupid accident that causes me to break at least one bone in my body (OK, I admit it ... I'd be doing this anyway)
  6. Accuse chestnuts of being lazy (no, wait... that's what I would do if Dr. Evil were my father)
  7. Be a Republican (don't worry, I'm not insane, and I'm also not voting, so one day on the dark side won't kill my Democratic Agenda)
  8. Drive down I-5 with a Big Mac in each hand
  9. Throw a few expressions into conversation, like "In a pig's eye..." and "Y'know, there's something to that..."
  10. Tell my family that I love them

Kathy and I paraphrased a few lines from "For Good" (from the Broadway musical "Wicked") for a tribute to Dad that was published in today's Oregonian. If you didn't see it, here's what it looked like.

And if you don't mind indulging a couple of adoring daughters, here are some of our favorite pictures of our dad.

Thanksgiving weekend 1981

Dad teaching Kathy how to use her camera (Jen is unimpressed), 1971

Las Vegas 1998: Jen rubbing Dad's belly for good luck

Daddy meeting Kathy, 19xx (you're welcome, Kath!)

Grandpa meeting Sean, 1987

Yikes! Easter 1973

Katie cuddling with Grandpa Curt, 2003

The Butterfly Kisses moment, 1997

Dad at Crater Lake, 1960ish

Though a year having gone by has dulled the shock of our loss, we still miss him every day. I hate that he's missed out on big events like Stephen's high school graduation. I know he would've loved to hear the details about my 20th high school reunion. He would've wanted to see pictures of Katrina effects from Kathy's trip to the southern U.S. He would have been so proud to have Katie sit in his lap and read her storybooks to him. It's so unfair that he's not here to enjoy these things.

Dad was a funny guy, and had a great appreciation for things that gave him belly laughs. We'll never forget that part of who he was, and that's why we have chosen to remember him today in a way he would've enjoyed: hearing his daughters make fun of him. In no way do we mean to be irreverent; quite honestly, when he died I think a part of me broke inside. But it was humor that always connected the three of us together. And nowadays it's humor that gets me and Kath out of crybaby mode into laughing so hard stuff flies out our noses. (Feel free not to enjoy that image too much.)



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