Today marks ten years since my Dad peacefully slipped away to heaven.. Anyone who met him, knew from his handshake that he was a strong man. It was a tiny bacterium that took him from us. He would probably laugh at the irony of that, and would probably have something wise to say about it all.
As my mother said in an email, it’s a bummer of a day. That is true. It is a bummer. However, she is the one who told us years ago when our little chihuahua was hit in the road that if we didn’t risk for the sake of love, then our lives on this Earth would be incomplete. The dredlocked-poet Bob Marley said it best: “To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in my life is to risk nothing,”
I’m currently rereading Cold Mountain at Lauren’s request as she is reading it in her AP English class, She knows it’s one of my favorite books and wants to have occasional book talks to pick my brain but to also show me how smart she has become. . Spoiler alert! Stop reading here if you want to read the book. The protagonist Inman goes AWOL from a Confederate hospital when a blind man convinces him that losing something you already have is worse than not getting what you want. I suppose he wondered what he had left to lose and took off for his home, Cold Mountain, to get what he wanted: the love of a young woman, Ada. The journey home is fraught with dangerous encounters and he often turns to nature to look for meaning in the world. The memories of innocent moments with Ada keep him motivated to live and move forward. He returns and shares several days of romantic bliss with Ada. And then the home guard finds him. I”m being speculative, but I’m fairly certain Inman would say that it was a small price to pay to finally get what he wants.
We all feel the burden of this “bummer of a day” and on many other occasions. We miss Dad at chicken barbecues and games at Thanksgiving. We miss him at football games, graduation, weddings by a lake, and talking about his grandchildren’s engagement stories. We miss him when new babies are born and grow up into toddlers who say funny things. There is never a time when we don’t think about him. But it’s a small price to pay to have had him in our lives. I’ll embrace this melancholy day because I know it will dissipate. There’s a dinner planned a couple of weeks from now at the Blose house. There will likely be wine, some cold beer, and stories told around the chicken barbecue pit. I doubt there will be tears or talk of regret. I won’t be there, but I will hear the echoing laughter 550 miles away in Tennessee.