This Friday marks the anniversary of my dad's death in 2002. For me this year will be a bit sadder than most. My dad would have been over the moon had he been alive to see me start medical school. Many of the folks on his side of the family never even completed high school let alone university.
I had a few random things in a bag I brought with me from storage when I last moved. And I mean random...plunger for French press, old camera, greeting cards, mesh bag, mail, incense... and as I sorted though--a photo of my dad and I on his ride-a-mower when I was about 4 emerged. This photo floated out of my stack of paperwork and landed on the table. I had completely forgotten about it-- most of my photos are in storage about 900kms away.
I stared at it for a while then tacked it up on my fridge. I realised that his death day is tomorrow and that he died not knowing I'd reach my goal of medical school. Hadn't pieced that reality together yet. After losing a parent it seems all victories become somewhat bittersweet because that tender spot inevitably gets reactivated with each triumph. Our parents are the only people in the world that genuinely care when we succeed or when we fail. Our accomplishments to them are uncomplicated in ways that cannot be with a spouse or friends.
Many people say to me "oh, your father knows what you are up to" but honestly, I don't know if I believe that. I think (if there is an afterlife) it will be so unimaginably wonderful that our souls will be preoccupied with much more important things than hanging around earth to see if our living offspring become doctors or not. I know my father was very proud of who I was even when I was just a punk-assed 22 year old. I think a part of my wishing he were around to see me off in May stems from my desire to show him "See dad! You and mom done good!" Giving me the chance to say thank you for eating my watery scrambled eggs, letting me put rollers in your hair, and tolerating the boyfriends who wore trench coats.
It all worked out in the end Dad.
I hope you're riding some cosmic wave or fishing off a plentiful dock with Cubby right now.