For the last few years, February and March are months wedged in sorrow. Next month will mark 4 years since my father’s passing. Thoughts of him sneak in as I buy a new pen, wrap a present, or write a check. This is not accidental. Each of these instances reflected a part of his personality. He loved office supplies, stockpiling an arsenal of legal pads, paperclips, and post-it notes in his work area. During birthdays, he volunteered to wrap presents, creasing the edges of the glittery paper so each flap matched exactly. He took pride in balancing his checkbook and writing the numbers in his ledger with careful precision.
This ordinary grief creates a darkness I feel powerless to cast away. Sinking into that sadness is painful, but denying that place feels manufactured. Like a kaleidoscope, my memories blur into a mixture of happy and sad fragments. As a teenager, I remember sitting on our light-brown couch, debating current affairs, politics and career choices with my father. Some of these discussions ended up in heated arguments where we declared our disdain for each other’s point of view and my mother stepped in, saying “That’s enough. Time to go to bed.” Other times, I remember my father brewed his own version of coffee so that my late night study sessions were productive. After I got married, when my husband and I visited my childhood home, my father affixed a white sign on the door with the word “Welcome Home” in his best calligraphy.
We shared many memories together, except for one. Two weeks ago, I watched as my daughter waltzed with her Daddy around the living room. When my daughter marries, I suspect she will ask her Daddy to dance at her wedding reception, to a song they pick out together that exemplifies their relationship.
I never danced with my father at my wedding for a number of reasons. My parents were traditional, my father never felt comfortable dancing, and the biggest reason: I thought he would say no. Looking back, there were ways to address his concerns: we could have showcased our Indian dance moves or did a group dance with my sister and mom as a part of our collective to ease him into center stage.
A dance with my father? I wish I had asked.
Don’t beat yourself up over not asking. Maybe you can focus on a memory of something you did together that was out of the ordinary and very special. Your father sounds like an amazing and loving husband and father. Hugs to you, Rudri.
They say it’s always the things we didn’t do that we regret. Who knows how your father would have responded? It’s that door of possibility, that chance to build one more memory…and no doubt you might find yourself feeling this as you watch your daughter grow up and develop her own special relationship with your husband, and you might see yourself and your father through them. I hope you can find comfort, too, in the unique relationship that you had with your father. He sounds like a special man. I am so sorry for your loss, Rudri. I can feel through all your posts what a void he has left in your life. You are loving him and honoring him through retelling your stories about him.
But Rudri, it seems you and your father had your own special kind of dance, around ideas and little kindnesses and many, many more steps and rhythms and give and take – and twirling in the delight of time together. Your own special number.
That made me tear. Big hugs!
Recently, I was looking for a book. Once I found it, I was swept into a wave of grief, remembering the person who gave it to me. Time eases the way I grieve, but I never try to sweep away the feelings. I find comfort in them. I like how you said “a kaleidoscope…a mixture of happy and sad fragments”.
You were so blessed to have such a close relationship with your father, and you were sensitive to his feelings and honored them on your wedding day.
You made me cry, dangit. Stories of your father always do.
A wonderful reminder not to let any more moments pass us by 🙂
I loved reading these memories of Uncle. Those everyday memories are just as strong and powerful as a would-be memory of a father-daughter dance. Really beautifully written post. Thanks for sharing!
I saw the title and held my breath as I read. My heart trembled and felt your pain. Beautiful sentiments. Hugs. Xoxo
Crying over here too. I love learning these details about your day and hope that these precious memories and the bond that you shared loom much larger in your mind that your missed dance. xo