Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday 1986

I think more than any other day of the year, I remember our father on Good Friday. That was the day he died in 1986. I had spent the day at Galveston Beach with my friend Beth, and had just finished preparing my dinner when the phone rang. I was talking to my mom (in Florida) when another call clicked sister, calling from Norfolk with the news. Meanwhile my dog had consumed my dinner, which I'd carelessly set down when all this started happening. The rest of the evening was spent talking to my ex-boyfriend, his father (a United Church of Christ minister), and airlines. I don't remember who took care of my dog and cat while I was in Virginia, I don't remember contacting work to let them know I wouldn't be in the next week. I don't remember the flight to Virginia or how I got to our home on Tallwood Street. I do remember calling friends, hearing them go from excitement that I was home to sadness when they learned why. I remember taking the '76 Pontiac Catalina for a farewell drive, noticing the beauty of a Norfolk spring as I drove through familiar yet oddly strange childhood settings. I remember the outpouring of love and support from so very many people, and the unstoppable tears after the very impersonal memorial service, as our family stood to receive what turned out to be a packed house. I remember the man who approached us and said he had known our father 20 years previous in the Navy, and saw the obituary and 'had to come'. I remember thinking how pleased Dad would have been about that, as he loved his service in the Navy and the friendships he made during that time. So, even though Good Friday is a moving date and rarely falls on the actual anniversary of Dad's death, it is on Good Friday each year that the memories of the day he died come back to me. He missed out on so much, and I will always be sad for that. But I have good memories of a man who had a zest for live, drank too much, trusted too easily, and never stopped loving our mother, despite their split and subsequent divorce. He was my biggest fan. He had his faults. But on Good Friday I remember the good things, and the things he missed, and the fact that I never really said goodbye. So on this Good Friday, 28 years later...goodbye, Dad. We love you and miss you and know you're still bursting with pride over all of us.