Reflection on April 4 Evening
Tomorrow marks the three-year anniversary of my dad’s passing. I just finished reading Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild in which she details her decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in an effort to find herself after getting divorced and unexpectedly losing her mother to cancer. I could really identify with that last part, and found much of the memoir quite poignant. At one point Strayed laments that her mother died so young, not because of how little life her mother lived but because of how immature she herself still was as a daughter.
Man, I feel that.
The more that time passes since losing my dad, the more I miss him because of how much I’m growing up. I want him to see that. I want him to be proud of me.
I always coveted my dad’s pride. I wanted him to have no doubt of disappointment in me. I wanted to please him, and I lived most of my adolescent and early adult life unsure if I had pleased him at all. Literally on his deathbed he told me, “I’m proud of you,” and I’ve carried that with me to this day. It was the affirmation I needed. Maybe he knew that, I don’t know.
But I still wish he was here for me to prove it to him. I wish we could enjoy each other as adults. I wish we could commiserate as fellow English teachers. I wish I could see him as a grandfather.
Wish, wish, wish. That’s all these are – I know. I have to trust in that somewhat cliched and, frankly, corny notion that he is “looking down on me” and can see what I’m up to. I’m not sure I believe it in quite those terms, but I certainly don’t think he’s losing any sleep over how I’m turning out. I can rest satisfied in that.
But I still would rather he be here.