A special day, of sorts

Today is the third anniversary of my father’s death.

Not much left I can still close my eyes and see the empty bed when we returned to pick up his few belongings later the same day.

He didn’t appear in in my dreams that night, as I noted at the time.

But he did make one of his rare appearances early this morning. We were at the small restaurant supply business he founded in 1959 and ran for the next 38 years. He was wearing his usual business garb, a white, short-sleeve shirt, tucked in at the waist, a white undershirt, open collar, brown slacks, leather shoes. He ushered me into the store, and we picked our way through aisles of dusty merchandise and displays of a mishmash things, glasses and plates, tableware, table cloths, pots and pans, varieties of chef’s knives, and equipment, commercial ranges, soda dispensers, ice machines, mixers, and on and on. It felt very familiar.

Unfortunately,this dream then drifted off course. Even in my dream state, I knew he was dead. And once, when he turned to glance back at me, he looked it. Then he looked away and we kept moving towards an alcove along a far wall.

The dream degenerated from there and I had to wake myself up to end it.

I wrote a lot about my dad’s life as I sorted through his papers and photographs, learning details of his long life that I would then try and talk to him about when visiting the nursing home, but there’s a lot of his story that I couldn’t share, not while he and my mom were alive. Their lives were complicated, much more so than I have acknowledged here, and very much a reflection of their times and personal histories. Those weren’t all the best of times, I have come to know.

Of course, they’re both gone now. The writer in me says there’s much to be added to their story as I sort out in my own mind the message of their lives. But the son in me hesitates. It will take more time to sort it out.

6 responses to “A special day, of sorts

  1. I hope the writer in you will come to peace with the filial piety in you because it has been evident for some time (especially in the tangle of relations present for the scattering of your Dad’s ashes) that there is more to your family than Mom, Dad, Bonnie, and you.

    I’ve been thru something similar, albeit without the huge platform on which your thoughts are expressed, and I found that just laying it out there was the only way I could make sense of it, largely because of the perspective others brought to it once they heard the details.

    Take your time. It will come to you or it won’t. You owe it to yourself, or nobody at all.

  2. If the story you are thinking of telling brings you a catharsis of sorts, tell it. On the other hand sometimes things go unsaid, unwritten. The hear no evil, speak no evil. The politically correct, keeping it quiet. Protecting the image … secrets, skeletons in the closets. However if the truth can help someone, the truth will set you free. ALL families have something… affairs, alcoholism, abuse of all sorts : child, domestic, drugs, emotional ….No such thing as perfection. Peace be with you. Aloha.

  3. Perhaps you can write about your parents in a few months as part of your legacy. Meanwhile, why not write about your your own life.

  4. agree with ohiaforest3400 couldn’t have said it better – history has a tendency to be focused on the highlights and low lights and not the middle ground which mushy and not always clear at the time or later.

  5. I have always found your family’s story to be very interesting and would read anything you choose to write.

    We have a very small house and in the last few months, overwhelmed with clutter, we have been purging all non-essential items – especially paperwork – from our lives. Every time I shred, donate or throw something out I think of the wonderful finds that have come from going through your parents’ belongings. There won’t be much of interest for our son and grandkids to find.

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