I mark the day every year, just like I mark your birthday every year. The first few years I visited your grave with a bottle of whiskey, but we are far from where you are buried, your grandchildren are still very young, and, well, your memory is not confined to your ashes. I light a candle, look through what litte photographs I have, and put on some Willie Nelson & Johnny Cash.
There were times, years, milestones that were hard to get through. When I met my husband, you weren’t there to see the light in my eyes, and the love in my heart. You weren’t there to take him out for a “nice friendly beer”. You weren’t there to hold your Grandchildren when they were born. When I walked down the aisle, I carried your Granddaughter on my hip because no-one could ever be your equal, and stand in your stead. I couldn’t tell you that my son’s middle name was yours. There are small things too, that seem to come up out of nowhere, to remind me of how terribly I miss you. It has taken me a long time to grieve, to learn to live with the pain, but the pain has lessened, with time.
Time marches on.
I’ve started to slowly realize that I don’t remember what your voice sounds like. I remember it being deep. Warm. Booming. But the sounds of your words and the melodies of your phrases are starting to escape me. I look at your pictures often, because, though I remember the creases around your steel-blue eyes, I’m starting to forget your face. But that is the way of things, and memory is a wholly faulty device anyway.
I talk about you. A lot. Even nine years on, I still talk about you all the time. Frankly, sometimes I think those around me are sick of hearing about you. I won’t stop though. I can’t. Remembering you, talking about you, reaffirms that you existed. You were there. You were my daddy. I share the memories I have of you, trying to keep them alive just a little while longer. Maybe there will come a day where the day will come and go and I will forget, but I will stave that day off for as long as I can.
As long as you are remembered, you are never truly gone.
I miss you Daddy.