My dad died 7 years ago today. He’s been gone one-sixth of my life, and one-half of my daughter’s life. I find that I’m focusing on all the things he didn’t get to see and experience with me and, especially, with his grandchildren.
I don’t believe in an afterlife, so I can’t take comfort in the thought of him smiling down indulgently from a fluffy cloud as his 42-year-old daughter gets tattooed (something he could never bring himself to do — even in the Coast Guard,when his buddies went to be decorated with dragons and anchors, he couldn’t deal with the idea of the needle).
And it wasn’t “God’s will” that took this flawed but fundamentally wonderful man far too early, at age 67 — it was a cruel and swift cancer.
He’s gone. And every year at this time, when the weather is swelteringly hot and the cicadas’ buzzing is loudest (a sound that will forever be the soundtrack of walking to my parents’ house during my dad’s last weeks), I’m confronted by the fact that some things just aren’t fair, no matter how many ways people try to rationalize them.