dread

Eight years ago tonight, I got a phone call. “Your dad’s in the hospital.” There was something in the my grandma’s tone of voice that conveyed the gravity of the situation. She didn’t say, “get on a plane asap because your dad is already pretty much dead.” nor did she say, “He wouldn’t wake up this morning and he’s been on life support all day, you need to be here.” All she said was, “Your dad is in the hospital.”

It was around 9:30pm. I’d talked with my dad briefly the day before, and he’d left me a voice–mail that previous night. We were daily talkers. When the phone rang that night, I thought it might be him, although it would have been 11::30pm in New York – rather late for parent/adult kid chatting.

Sometimes, you just know.

I told my grandma I’d catch the first flight out in the morning. It was too late for me to get the red-eye out of O’Hare to JFK.

The airplane landed at 8:40am in New York and my uncle picked me up. We made tense small talk for the 40 minute drive to my grandma’s apartment in Brooklyn. As we walked through her weighty door, the phone rang. The hospital was calling to tell us that my dad had died. Machines that went ‘ping’ were no longer able to give him the life-support to keep him with us.

It was Passover week and all the Jewish services were on hold. Getting my dad a funeral and burial was difficult, but my grandma and aunt and uncle managed to make the arrangements.

Passover is such a wonderful holiday full of family and ritual and, of course, an abundance of food. My dad loved Passover Seder and when I was a kid, he made sure that I had a few with that side of my family. One year, my grandpa gave me $15 to retrieve the hidden matzoh! That was a small fortune at age eight.

I’ve never been a very good Jew. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to appreciate the rituals and history more. There is a deep familial connection to ancient past.

It’s a little ridiculous how much I dread the anniversary of my dad’s death.
Nothing new is going to happen, and I have plenty of daily reminders of my dad,
so why does the anniversary of the day he died bother me so much?

I think some of it has to do with the feeling of being untethered. In some ways, our connection to this world is defined by our families – whether blood family or chosen. We measure the world based on our own opinions, and that of those close to us. When one of those people goes away, we lose a perspective and their unique way of interacting with the world.

We can no longer see through their eyes, nor listen to their observations. There is a part of ourselves tied in to that specific person. When that person is gone, it can feel like losing part of one of our senses.

This time of year, I feel untethered. Disconnected from my past and free floating in the present. It is a fleeting feeling, that buries itself not terribly deeply and tends to resurface during stressful times.

I’m going to visit my grandmother and dad’s side of the family soon. We will sit and observe the Passover Seder together and remember my dad. We will reaffirm our connection to each other and to our history.

It will be good.

caterwauling

My dad had a terrible singing voice.
He not only admitted it, but I think was a little proud of how bad he was.

One of our favorite activities to do together was sing. We had a repertoire of mostly Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Beach Boys.

On our better days, we would do really horrible harmonies and scare anyone who was within hearing distance – which was often, since we had a tendency to sing at the top of our lungs in public places, like while waiting for the elevator in his condo building, or when walking down the sidewalk in front of a cafe.

We especially liked to sing the Beatles “Yesterday.” I think because it has the odd notes and is actually a rather difficult song to do well. Whatever the more difficult path, we tended to wander down it.

As the eighth anniversary of my dad’s death approaches (April 9th), my thoughts have been increasingly of him.

This morning, I woke up with one of his favorite songs in my head and was missing our off-harmonic caterwauling.

DR350 rear rack

Got my rear rack mounted yesterday. It’s awesome!

Of course, the process started slowly because a bolt wouldn’t come out.
My friend brought over a breaker bar for that bolt and stayed to help.

Got it fitted up and checked out how it will mount.
The pug was there for moral support and to guard the property.

The turn signal wires on the right side ended up being too short (the rack mounts the signals a little further back) so we spliced some wire in and made em the correct length.

It was too nice a day to roll the bike into the workshop, so set up outside
Pulled out the drill so I could widen the holes in the storage tubes where the signals mounted.

She was a big help

All done! Looks great!


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