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Three-fourths of a lifetime (#1142)

Topics/tags: Autobiographical, disjoint

May eleventh is one of those days where I always feel a bit off, even though the meaning of off seems to have changed over the years. You see, my father died on May 11, 1979. I was fourteen at the time, almost fifteen. I’m fifty-six now, almost fifty-seven. If I do the math right, fifty-six is four times fourteen, so I’ve been fatherless for 3/4 of my lifetime.

Now, that’s not quite accurate. As I said, I’m almost fifty-seven. But it’s close enough for folk, or for a musing, or, well, for whatever purposes this musing will serve. Perhaps in four years, I’ll once again claim it was three-fourths of my lifetime. (I was almost fifteen; now I’m almost sixty. If I do the math right, sixty is four times fifteen.)

I wasn’t planning to muse about dad, or about being without dad, or, really, anything related to the whole situation. But my muse is, well, my muse. So even though she made me start my day by musing about the cuts to my advisees [1], and she encouraged me to think about my reactions to the news out of our middle school for most of my evening walk [2], when I arrived home for the walk, she informed me that I needed to muse about what May 11 means so many years later.

Haven’t I done so before? Almost certainly. But it never hurts to try again.

For a long time, May eleventh was a painful day. Even if I wasn’t paying attention to what day it was, I’d wake up sad and often spend much of the day in a funk [3]. At some point, the pain got less. I didn’t feel the huge gap. And it was long before I lost mom [4]. But I can’t pinpoint when it started to hurt much less. It was hard that I didn’t get to learn to drive from him or learn to play claviash. It was hard not to have him watch me finish college [5]. It was hard knowing that he’d never meet Michelle (or vice versa). It was not having him meet the three kids or even one of the kids. When did it get less hard? I don’t know.

I guess it’s still hard. I found myself crying while writing that prior paragraph.

But I’ve lost the huge gaping hole. It’s been filled in a bit. I suppose it’s filled in a lot. I’ve had a life with Michelle [6]. I’ve watched my kids grow. All three of them are older than I was when we lost dad. I have lots of memories with them. I have lots of memories left to build [7].

I don’t feel like I’ve had anything new to say. I wonder why my muse chose this subject?

I know!

Because she wants me to think about related issues. I don’t want my sons and wife to have the same sense of loss in one year, or twenty, or forty-two [8]. So I need to take care of myself, lose weight, eliminate stress, exercise more. Fortunately, I’m on the right track. But a gentle reminder never hurts.

Postscript: Sorry that this wasn’t particularly deep or thoughtful. For whatever reason, this level of musing is what I’m up to these days.

[1] I’ll probably finish that in a day or two.

[2] I’m not sure whether or not I’ll muse about that. My reactions were surprisingly strong.

[3] Michelle probably knows better than I how much of a funk.

[4] A huger gap.

[5] Or even start college for, that matter.

[6] Almost 34 years of marriage!

[7] Maybe even memories with grandchildren, some day.

[8] Well, I’ll probably be dead in forty-two years, but you know what I mean.

Version 1.0 of 2021-05-11.