I was conceived in Germany. My parents used to kid me that they had tattooed my butt with "Made in Germany." I can't tell you how many times I used to twist and turn in front of the mirror when I was a kid, trying to get a glimpse of that tattoo. Every once in a while I think about actually getting that tattoo made.
When I was 17 or so, my parents took my brother and me to Germany, and we saw their former apartment, met their landlady, and even went to a couple of their old haunts. My parents regaled me with stories of one friend of theirs from that time, Joey Parent. He and my dad were as thick as thieves back in the day. I just knew that he would have some good stories to tell me about my father; but I hadn't seen Joey since I was maybe two or three. All I remembered was his glasses and his dark, somewhat curly hair, which I loved to pat. Over the years, he and my dad would occasionally get together, but time and distance took a toll on their friendship, as it often does, and they didn't get together as often as they used to.
After Dad died, Mom had an unexpected call from Joey, who had heard of Dad's passing from the obituaries, I think, and they've been in contact ever since. Earlier this Spring, Joey and his wife, Gwen, came out for a visit. Gwen is terrific, she had arranged the whole thing as a surprise for Joey. He knew they were going somewhere, but he wasn't sure where, and it wasn't until he pulled up in front of The Box House that he knew he was there to see an old friend.
Mom has been after me for months to get these photographs off of my memory card. I actually downloaded them to my hard drive ages ago, but have been too lazy to burn a disc for her. So here they are, Mom! Click to enlarge them and then save them to your computer! :-)
It was good to see Joey again for the first time (for me) in 37 years or so. He shared stories of my father from when they first met, some of which I had never heard before. Those stories were as precious to me as gold or rare gems, allowing me a more complete picture and a different perspective on the man who raised me. It's funny how you can know someone your entire life, and still learn new things about him.
Yesterday marked the four-year anniversary of my dad's death. For weeks, I knew it was coming, and I dreaded it in many ways. Each year it's been a brutal day to get through without completely falling apart. Ted has come to expect my regular meltdowns at Halloween--my dad's birthday--Christmas, which was always a big family gathering; New Year's, when I would make my drunken phone call home, no matter where in the world I was; and July 16th, the day of my father's passing.
But this year, I forgot.
Even though I was busy tracking down just what I did with the photos of Joey's visit, I forgot.
I don't know how it happened. But I went through the entire day without thinking that it was the day my dad died. Not once. And I'm not sure how I feel about it. I know that life must go on, and all that, but I feel guilty that I didn't spend this day in my usual funk. I worried about my cousins coming in tomorrow to help demolish our basement, and the bills that needed to get paid this week, and that we were running low on milk. I thought of my dad briefly when I rearranged some things in my office, and came across this picture and "booped" his nose with my finger. But I had completely forgotten that Wednesday marked the fourth anniversary of his passing.
It's crazy, I know, but sometimes I wish I could feel the same intense, emotional pain I felt at the beginning. I loved my dad so much, I miss him all the time. It seems like a dishonor to let the pain soften, to move on with my own life.
I don't know. Am I crazy?
I just really miss my dad, and wish he were still here.