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Well, it’s here. The day I’ve been dreading for exactly one year.
It is the anniversary of the day my Pop died.
Anniversary doesn’t seem like the right word to use, does it? That generally connotates happy feels, no?
That ain’t any part of today, yo.
It’s been, all at once, an eternity and blink. Frankly, it’s surreal, to this very moment.
One year in and I’m still trying to navigate this prickly, panicky, politically-pukey, pandemic planet without my Pop.
It’s…well let’s just call it the pits, though I’m sure Fernando would have a much more lively description of the sitch if he was here to tell it, Capisce?
Man, I miss his colorful cussin’.
Everyone warns you. “Anniversaries are hard. Firsts are tough. It’s the most difficult in the first year.”
Pfft. As Pop would say, “Stunads.”
No offense, but no one anywhere on the third rock can know exactly how another human feels, heals, or deals, you dig?
Even if you’ve gone through something similar, nobody truly understands your own individual experiences…and your reactions to them. Nobody.
As for me, I’ve found that it’s kinda odd, the things you do in the moments after losing the man who’s been your rock for the past five decades.
My first impulse, other than to comfort my absolutely distraught, adored Ma, was to warm him up.
“Ma, is it okay if I put some socks on him?” I asked as if I was seven again.
Truth be told, in that moment, that’s about how old I felt.
She smiled and hugged me, through her own unimaginable pain, and said, “Of course, honey.”
Listen, my Pop was rugged, tough, manly and a freaking force until he got very sick at the end of his life. Up to that point, however, the man didn’t have cold feet about anything, ever – especially the lifetime he told me he was blessed to have shared with my Mom.
But, as he struggled with Pancreatic Cancer, he became frail and was often cold. IT KILLED ME to see him this way. #IHATEYOUCANCER
So, in a truly ridiculous, futile and senseless effort, I put a pair of heavy socks on his feet.
I mean, I am always flipping freezing and I just couldn’t stand the thought of Pop’s tootsies being chilly.
Absurd, I know.
Heaviest sigh in the universe.
Anyway, in a concerted effort to get the horrendous images of that last day out of my mind’s eye, I’ve tried to think of the proverbial good times.
Last Sunday, as I sipped una tazza di caffè (that’s a cup o' joe) I decided to watch the sun rise in Pop’s honor.
He loved doing that, especially when there was little else he could do. It was a glorious sight.
For some reason, I then flipped on the Weather Channel for the first time in about a year (duh, I have the app) …
Only to catch tons of random sunrise photos, accompanied by one of my Pop’s favorite songs: “Country Road” by John Denver.
I heard the words of my oldest, dearest childhood pal. “He’s sending you signs, “in my head.
Clearly, he already had.
There was the dream where I found him in my childhood home, on crutches but fine. I hugged him endlessly and he laughed and kept saying, “It’s okay, I’m here. I’m here.”
And he was.
Then there was the one where I was flipping through a photo album and a picture of him came to life.
“Pop?” I yelled. He smiled and said, “It’s alright. Everything’s good; it’s good.”
I know he's in the best place now ... so, I'm sure it is.
As I reflected all this and felt my Dad near, I plunked down on the couch to start binging the series “Ratched.”
Upon hearing the show’s opening theme song “The Dance of the Macabre,” I dropped the remote.
It was a song Pop used to play for me as a little girl; a private joke -- something just between us.
Kind of nice to think maybe he misses me, too?
Kimerer is a columnist and grieving daughter who loves and misses her Pop. Share your parental memories with her at www.patriciakimerer.com