9 years ago yesterday

Me and my dad when I was little standing by my oldest sister’s grave (stillborn)

Nine years ago yesterday my dad died. I was trying to figure out why I was in such a funk. I remembered several times in the last few weeks; but then yesterday I forgot somehow until my sister called. Its funny how there are some losses that never seem to move farther away from you. When I ‘ve lost a twenty, a job, or even the occasional friend, I have noticed that it loses its sting the further you get from the loss. But with parents it feels more like a star over head – no matter how fast you drive, it lingers overhead steady and unblinking.

I moved to Detroit with my family when I was in middle school. Prior to that point my dad had been working in Houston in the ship channel assisting customs. At the time Bush Sr. was in office and was using national guard troops to assist in the war on drugs – he liked the job and moved to Detroit to become a customs agent full time. He worked for customs until a couple of months before he died of lung cancer (a non-smoker at that). That was January third of ’97. A lot has happened since then – I started college – dropped out, and dropped back in. He never saw me play drums or date or grow to outweigh him (by a healthy margin at one point).

Detroit has been for all intents and purposes my home and stability in the years since his death. I am grateful to the folks at Grace Community church (my old church) as well as my friends that have become family to me. It hasn’t always been pretty or warm with sepia this last decade; but from time to time, staring at the waterfall outside fishbones; or driving down 696 at night, alone on the road; or eating beef nachos at Shores Inn – I have the feeling that there is a continuity to all of this – there is a cadence to return to after life starts throws some arhythmics at us.

Thanks Detroit for making me feel at home. Thanks dad for making me a man.

3 Comments so far

  1. baliad (unregistered) on January 4th, 2006 @ 2:37 pm

    great post… thanks for sharing…

  2. ZuDfunck (unregistered) on January 4th, 2006 @ 2:52 pm

    Your Dad lives on, within you!

  3. Sinclair Lewis (unregistered) on January 6th, 2006 @ 3:40 pm

    My father died 15 years ago and you described how his loss feels so many years later perfectly. Most assume the loss diminishes greatly over time or that it’s felt less once you’re an adult because you have better emotional capacity to understand dying is what happens to people, even to our parents who seemed infallible to us as children. But it never diminishes. And it’s good for me to read that other adults feel this way too. Funny how much you still need your parents when you’re an adult, just for different things than you did when you were a child. Our fathers do indeed live on in us. We keep them alive by living the best parts of their spirits and psyches. I would be interested in reading more of your thoughts on this subject if you’re interested in sharing. Thanks.

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