July 30th was my parents' wedding anniversary. Except that my Dad died in 2004 and my Mom remarried in 2007. But it would have been 46 years.
I miss my father terribly. He was a considerable influence on my life. My parents' marriage was a considerable influence on my life. They had what many considered to be an ideal marriage.
I do not know whether they would have considered themselves that, as few of us see ourselves as others see us. (That is the burden of celebrity.) What I do know is that they were in love and worked hard to make their love persevere.
But now he is gone from my life in a material way. I do not have my "parents." How fortunate for me that the memories of my father are so positive and full of examples that help guide decisions.
When I miss him most, when I feel closest to him, I am very emotional and there is usually a good deal of crying involved. Why crying and sadness are necessary, I do not know. Perhaps that is an immaturity; in time, I may find that I can feel extreme joy or laughter and feel the same closeness.
In fact, it is those times when I am crying that I not only feel close, but feel as though he is in my presence.
I am learning to say, "I wish Dad was here to see this," or, "Dad would have loved this," out loud more often. It's something that I have not done until recently, and he died almost eight years ago. Last week, Wife and I went to a jazz club. Or when I cook something particularly good or eat something wonderful and spicy. I wish Dad was there.
I will spare you my thoughts on the afterlife and whether or not I think that he's always with me. We all have our own definitions and perceptions. So much so, that putting my feelings on that subject into a short paragraph would not provide a proper definition.
What I will say is that it makes me feel better to make a regular effort to remember Dad. I need to tell my kids stories about my Dad more often. I can even talk aloud to him, as if he were there with me, my consigliere. On the other hand. failing to recall his words and actions would equal discarding my math or reading education. It would be tragic to be around a person with so much wisdom and fail to recall it for practical use.