5 Memories for 5 Years

Today was the fifth anniversary of my dad’s death. I don’t put much stock in anniversaries, but this year made me especially sad. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 5 years- it’s just really surprising how time doesn’t stop passing.

Anybody that spends five minutes with me knows that I’m fascinated with morbid stuff. Taxidermy, mortality rates, death portraits… I could dwell on the significance of the death, and talk about how beautiful and crazy life/death is, but I thought that I would finish today (it’s had its ups and downs) on an optimistic note- by sharing five wonderful memories that I have of my father. These are not meant to be big, or particularly meaningful, but they made me smile when I thought of them.

  1. Everyday my dad made a GALLON of coffee in a makeshift pitcher crafted out of an old cooking oil container (just cut the top off). He would mix it up with loads of cream and sugar. Basically that’s how I like my coffee today. I know, sickly sweet and disgusting (and I do this to my $$$ coffee too).
  2. He was a total taoist and was always telling me while I was growing up that in life I just needed to follow “the way.” He practiced what he preached. Several weeks before he died, we sat on the couch talking. He said “I hate chemo. I don’t want to do it anymore. You can’t fight things like this, you just have to let it happen. I’m not afraid to die, but I am tired of the pain.” I think about this conversation quite often.
  3. I was a spoiled brat. I always got the latest stupidly expensive technology (scanners, digital cameras, computers, ipods). I was very touched that he was so supportive of my gadget love, and wanted me to have the best tools available to post boring photos of myself online with. I still have the camera I received as a present during Christmas 2005, and have no plans of donating or recycling it.
  4. He made up a song for me that went like this: “Ka-man-da-la-woo, Tracy eats poo poo.” I thought he was nuts, but whatever. About a year ago I heard the song “Comment Allez Vous” by Blossom Dearie, and I realized that he had been singing “Comment allez vous” the entire time. Really wild. The um… poop part… I think that was definitely in English.
  5. Dad drove me to school in downtown Little Rock every day during junior and senior high school (I could walk to elementary). He would watch the morning news and have his morning tea, and by 8:00 or so we were off in his rickety blue Jeep for the 20 minute drive. Oftentimes we didn’t talk at all, we just listened to my mix tapes or NPR while I finished up any leftover homework. He told my mom that he really cherished this time with me. I agree.

Five years! So wild. Don’t forget to tell your friends and family that you love them.