He died in our arms January 24, 1998.
We used to tease that we started missing each other before each visit, knowing how quickly the time would pass and it would be over.
Every time we left each other, often at an airport, he would slip me $5. When I went to summer camp. When I went to college. When I moved to New York. $5 slipped into my palm at the last minute. Never more. Never less. When we were searching for a middle name for Jackson, we came up with Finn, which is a slang term for 5 dollar bill.
When I think of my father I think of how sweet he was. How much fun he seemed to be having. How much in the moment he was. I have written (and posted) about my father a lot. I loved him so much. And he loved me. And best – we not only lived it, but told each other.
As much as I have missed him since he has been gone, having my boys and being with Stephie has made me miss him even more. He would have been such a rich part of our family – and they would have thrilled and loved him to no end. It is a cruel trick when someone dies that they are frozen in time. They continue to have birthdays, but are no longer here. They never age in your mind, but they are harder to imagine. What would my father look like at 90? How much fun we he be? How much would he love these boys of ours and Stephie?
I can answer.
My father would be handsome and super fun. He would be bursting with so much love he would light up the sky. He would still have tickets to every Steeler game and Jackson would be next to him tugging at his terrible tweed coat. On his lap would be Asher singing out loud with those blue eyes that match my father’s, and on the other side, I would be the happiest man in the world. Knowing it was not the game but being together.
My Dad would be doing his damnedest to keep up with my mother.
It is never the destination, it is always the journey.
The attached photo is of Jackson in 2010 sitting on the lawn of the house I grew up in. He is sitting in the exact spot I used to wait for my father to come home from work. It used to seem like forever for his car to come around the corner and into the driveway. Then, when he came out of the car and hugged me, it was like he had been there forever. Behind Jackson are his two grandmothers, Aline and Janet.