Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of my dad’s death. Last fall was a crazy mix of emotions. It was somehow a whirlwind and yet a slowing down of time all at the same time. Seeing as we are coming up on the anniversary, I feel like I have been doing a lot of remembering, reminiscing, and rethinking. As I think back to this time last year, I smile because the day before he died, we were given an incredible gift – a living celebration of his with, with him.
We got him home and somehow managed to get everyone around him to celebrate him. He told us stories we will never forget.
- He talked about an obscure baseball player, Johnny Antonelli, who played with the Boston Braves in the late 1940s.
- He said his brothers had come for him, but that Donnie was flying the helicopter and since Donnie doesn’t know how to fly, he wasn’t going to be getting in a helicopter with them.
- He told us about French military soldiers wearing pots and pans on their heads, but needing to make sure they were rinsed out first so they did not have sausages on their heads.
- He talked about a hot air balloon in the backyard ready to take him to heaven.
He told us tales of sorrow and regret as well as tales of celebration and joy.
He held us rapt with his poignant reminiscing. And made us fall over laughing as he told us to come back when we had more training or that he couldn’t eat too much because he didn’t want to gain too much weight in case he beat this cancer.
Recognizing that he was going to be leaving us, he talked about the things he would never get to see. I think we all hold the moment in our hearts when he held his great-grandson’s hand and, with tears rolling down his cheek, said how unfair it was that he was never going to see Nick grow up.
We laughed as we looked back with him, and cried as we looked ahead at what our lives would be without him.
It’s been a rough year, and this is going to be a rough week for sure, but for today I will celebrate the gift we got the day last year when family gathered, storied were told, tears were shed, meals were made, laughter was heard, and together – with my dad – we celebrated the life, the lessons and the love that he gave all of us.
Let’s always continue to remember and tell the stories and laugh and cry, lest we forget.