When I was 14, blink-182 released their untitled album and to say I loved it was an understatement. I listened to that album non-stop for months and since it was the first “parent friendly” album that also included in the car. Every time I climbed into my dad’s Tahoe the album came out of my bag and went straight into the CD player. I can’t imagine most parents would let their kid commander the music in the car like that but he never complained. Quite like a lot of people though he would make fun of Tom relentlessly when ‘I Miss You’ would come on. “What’s a yead?” “Why is he saying head like that?” I probably got annoyed at him if I’m honest but I don’t really remember. Mostly I just remember listening to that album with him and from then on I Miss You would remind me of him.
Tomorrow marks the 7th anniversary of his passing and to say I miss him isn’t even enough. I kept waffling on if I should write about this or not. Does anyone want to read my sad sob story about my dead dad and how much I miss him? I don’t really know but I was sort of hit with divine intervention that led me to writing this. I listen to the same radio show every day but this morning I missed the last hour, the one that starts with a request segment.. As I sat down to write a book review instead of writing about my dad I decided I would listen to the hour I missed. What was the first song that Greg chose to play off the requests? Well, I Miss You of course.
I laughed to myself when I heard it and then as the song played my eyes welled with tears like they often do when I hear it and I thought of my dad. I thought of the grief I have felt over the past seven years and also of the grace that has come out of it. Then after the song ended Greg promptly made fun of the way Mark was singing and I laughed out loud. The timing of everything was perfect and I couldn’t help but think it was this weird cosmic inside joke between my dad and I. Like no matter where he is in the universe we still have these weird little moments where he doesn’t feel so far away.
That’s not always the way it is though and the amount of grief that I have felt over the last seven years is more than I ever thought possible for one tiny human to bare. I’ve done it though. I’ve turned my grief to grace and I’ve found a way to soldier on without my best friend. That’s not to say I’m always graceful about the way I miss my dad. I cry and get mad and am unbearably sad every time I think about him and just how much I miss him. When I think about the fact that the only way I can have a laugh with him is through those weird little moments in my head like the one that just happened a few minutes ago. It’s enough to break me all over again.
I want to ask him what he thinks about this election. I want to watch sports with him at home. I want to go to football games with him. I want to go shopping on Sunday morning with him. I wanted to call and tell him the minute I met Tom four years ago and hear him probably crack some joke about Tom’s ‘yead’. I have a wish list a hundred miles long when it comes to the things I want to talk to him about or do with him. Things that will never happen but things that I’ll think about for the rest of my days.
That’s the grief part of it. The feeling of knowing I will never hear his voice again in this lifetime. The grace comes from knowing and that still being able to move on. Because, even though I will forever be missing a piece of my heart and that will never ever heal he’s left me with enough love to carry me through. He told me that I was lucky to have 20 good years with him right before he died. I was angry and mad. I told him it wasn’t enough and that he was crazy. He was right though. He gave me the best 20 years I could have ever asked for and that included him letting me listen to the same CD over and over again. It also included him loving me enough to be able to tell me that he loved me more in 20 years than some people will get in a lifetime and that’s what carries me through the hardest and darkest days.