My Dad would have been 76 years old today.
He never made it to 60, and I think that the world is a poorer place for it.
I thought that by now I'd be over the loss of him, but if I allow myself to dwell too long on the empty place he left I start to fill it with my tears. There is no way to cover over the deficit with time; it's just not possible. While we all move on from great loss, from great pain, there will always remain a lingering shadow of the brilliant crashing hurt that was, and if you peek under the corner of the shadow you risk being inundated with vibrant, exquisite pain once again.
I'm an expert non-lifter of shadows. I let them lie, most of the time.
But today it's my Dad's birthday, and I let myself miss him. I lift the veil, break the surface to peer into the hole he's left in my life, and shout my sorrow into the emptiness.
I miss you Dad. You left us too soon. When we see one another again, I'll wrap my arms around you like I did the very last time I saw you, and tell you I love you. As if you didn't already know. Then I'll tell you about the grandchildren you never met, about the parts of my life you weren't here to take part in, about the way the world has changed. We'll sit around with a Manhattan and some pepperoni and cheese, just like the Saturday afternoons I remember so fondly, and we'll talk, make up songs, tell jokes, be goofy and introspective by turns. I'll look into your blue eyes, so much mine, and smile.
Happy Birthday Dad. Happy non-number 76.