My Dad's 80th birthday would have been today.
It's been three years since he died, so you know how it goes. You've learned to get by but every now and again you have those days that bum you out a little more than others.
I can't say I'm having a dramatic weepy day, but it's been kinda meh. It was drizzly and grey outside so that suited my mood.
There's freshness there because as I work on my second novel, I find myself dredging up a lot of stuff about his illness and death. One of the characters is loosely based on him, and since this is a first draft I'm kind of pushing out story over heavily plotted outlining. So I find myself putting more specific points that Dad experienced there until I go back to fictionalize it all up some more.
So that makes it kind of hard to re-read what I've put out there. Obviously, it makes me picture him in the role so I have to stop and decompress every few minutes. Maybe the emotional roller coaster I find myself on as I write will add to the story in the end.
Yeah, it's hard, but it dredges up a lot of good memories, too. I try not to hold my father up as a saint when I remember him, because let's face it. Me and my dad were like oil and water a lot of the time. But I'm reminded now of the many ways we were alike. It sucks that I didn't really know that while he was alive but even after all this time, I'm really glad I got to be there when he was sick, because I think we connected more before he died.
There was one time after my father was diagnosed with cancer when my one um ... interesting brother (see, no libel) did something that really pissed me off and I had a meltdown. I have a rather colorful history of moments in my life when I've finally bottled too much and explode in glorious fashion. This was one of those nights. I flipped out. Ended up storming out of my parents' home, told my father I wouldn't be seeing him for a while, screamed at my mother, and sped home at very inadvisable speeds. And I BAWLED. Lord, you have not seen how much I can bawl unless you could see the bawling that night.
I was totally bonkers. Sobbed for hours. I woke up with my eyes swollen shut, it was that bad. And ultimately, even my crazy mother recognized it was more the sum total of all the crap leading up to that breakdown than the actual incident itself.
But my dad, when we were alone, actually listened to my side of the story and basically said, "Hey, you leave your brother and your mother to me. You don't have to take their crap."
Not very dramatic, but it was a big step in our relationship I think. That glorious moment when you realize the father who always looked at you like you had three heads got you.
So there you go. A little random glimpse into my mindset tonight. It's messy and scary. I'll keep on plugging on the story that seems insistent on dumping me right back into the swirl of emotions I experienced as he was dying, but in between all the bouts of weepiness, I think I'll continue to have moments to smile as I remember the weird little things that made my dad who he was.
And I'll remember to be thankful that when all is said and done, I had the best father a girl could ever have.