Today my dad would have been 75. I didn’t realize it right away. As every morning, I became caught up in my routine. I woke, showered, ate, drove to school–the same as every weekday morning.
It wasn’t until a student came to me for a pass to work on Shakespeare scenes during homeroom when it hit me.
“Today is April…” I hesitated trying to remember what yesterday had been.
“The 25th,” she said.
I paused and jotted the number down as the realization came and my eyes burned with the holding back of preliminary tears.
“Here ya go,” I said quickly and handed her the small green paper.
I held my breath as she left and then released it slowly.
My morning went on as usual. During my planning time, I checked my phone including a quick review of Facebook. There it was again. The reminder. It’s his birthday. I quickly tucked my phone away. I wasn’t ready to deal with the full range of emotions such a realization brings.
And I went on with my day. I talked about totalitarian governments. A student brought up her father’s own involvement with air force intelligence during a brief discussion on spies. There it was again. I remembered you had done that too. I answered her questions and moved on.
I taught Shakespeare. Miranda proposed to Ferdinand, and Prospero expressed his happiness. Students eagerly asked me about my proposal, and I told the story of how Jedidiah asked my father’s permission. Jedidiah had asked, and he said, “Are you sure?” It’s one of my favorite stories to tell. And there it was again.
Once my day was over, I came home and looked at the calendar. There it was. Your picture and no longer just a birthdate and year…there was the death year. There was such a finality to it. Then I finally cried. All of it, out like a flood. I sobbed. My throat burned and felt tight. It hurt to swallow. There it was again…finally.
And even though it’s your birthday, Dad, it’s there every day. That reminder that you were, and then suddenly you were not.
I think of you every day. Some days are just harder than others. Today is always one of those days.