As I write this, the sun is still well above the horizon, even though it’s nearly seven pm. This is my favorite part of the year-- when the sun keeps our company 18 hours a day. As the day enters night, even with the sun stubbornly refusing to go to bed, the darkness is creeping up on me quickly. One year ago, tonight, right now, I was sitting with my Dad as he prepared to leave the temporary housing of skin and muscle and tissue. I arrived at their house in Texas in the late afternoon after traveling most of a day. He was waiting for me.
Now I am the one waiting. I sit beside the water, the place that grounds me while simultaneously elevating me, and I wait for Dad. Last year I made a secret deal with him. I promised him, looking in to his one good eye with his broken brain, that I would show up for him every year. I asked him to meet me. I asked for him to let me know what it was like. Being me, I joked, “Not sure how expensive postage is, but if you can’t make it, maybe send a letter.” He half smiled with the one side of his face that still followed muscle requests. I fidgeted at the time, using humor as a way of deflecting emotions has always been a coping mechanism. It’s what Dad and I have in common. I know he understood what I was actually saying.