Around this time of year there is always an additional irritating stress which I am aware of but suppressing. Normally I am keeping myself too busy and simply ignoring the fact, or the possible reason, or any memory that I might be forced to recognise. I believe they call this denial. This is perhaps the first year since he has been gone that I've been consciously remembering and reflecting on his life and death. As painful as some of the last memories can be all of the great ones throughout our short time together heavily outshine the horror of his passing. In fact I've come to realise it is somewhat of a crime to ignore his life because his death was so heartbreaking.
So I will remember him. His ridiculous infectious laugh which I unfortunately think has been passed down to me. A belly laugh that is so crazy that you can't help but laugh at or with depending on the situation. It's embarrassing but so pure and rich that it's to be cherished. Along with his laugh was a genuine smile that had the ability to force your frowning face into the same joyful grin.
I will remember his horrible singing, and I do mean horrible. He sure did give it his all though, which can be respected. He sounded somewhat like a dying animal, of the sort I am still unsure of to this day. I will remember his addiction to licorice. His horrible habit of eating peanut butter from the jar with a table spoon while he leaned over the counter and read the newspaper. His absolute love and passion for the game of Hockey. The birds he carved for me and my brother out of apples, which as a kid made him seem like a magician of miracles. I'll remember the silly doodles that I'd draw on scraps of paper that I left lying around, that would be "anonymously" added to at random. How we would listen to the same outdated Dance Mix tape over and over again that I liked on our road trips.
The list of silly little things that I'll remember is clearly too long to summarise, it is endless, larger than life. I suppose that is the point. The most important thing I will remember from my Dad and his death to date - is that in life it is all the little things that are remembered and cherished. The little things are what the big things are made of. Life is unknowingly short so the more little things you do, say, experience the bigger and better it will be. Life can be taken from us at anytime. I think we play victim to this knowledge too often, instead of reveling in it.
This year I am going to celebrate my Dad's life, the way he would have wanted . . . with his favourite band CCR. Old school classic rock baby. Here is to you Dad! A.K.A. Fast Eddie . . .