Sunday, June 20, 2010

father's day without the father

Father's Day is inevitably bittersweet because my dad is no longer with us. My kids have no memory of him. He would've really enjoyed them. Gently teasing Z and irritating her on purpose. Joking with O. Showing them his birds. Telling them stories. Watching Giants' games on tv with them. And World Cup.

As much as I'm a logical, thoughtful person, this continues to haunt me.

When O was born in early October 2005, my dad went into his final coma, never really waking up again save for a few feeble gestures. I found out the second day I was in the hospital, recuperating after the birth. My sister called; my mother did not want to tell me. I was such a morass of emotions and hormones at that point that it didn't register. I don't remember feeling anything save for a hollowness that was soon filled with brain-obliterating exhaustion.

He died over Thanksgiving weekend that same year. He knew of O, I was told, and the few photos I had brought to him of O were taped on his last bed in the hospital.

As O is growing up - and turns five this year - I can see my dad in him. The love of life and small pleasures. The genuine care he shows to people in distress. The flashes of temper. Without sounding too new age-y, I'd like to think that the best parts of my dad's spirit have come to reside in O during the birth and death cycle. And maybe that's how we perpetuate our legacies.

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