It’s Sunday morning, the day after Christmas. I’m staring at a blank screen, waiting for the infusion of strong coffee to kick in and marshal my thoughts for a post, due in two days. (A self-imposed deadline, I know, but I respect it.) I should be writing an obituary for my father who passed away one week ago. And I will.
As much as I sometimes curse the intrusion of commercial ads and mainstream media, there’s something to be said for the distractions the internet provides at times like this. The after-Christmas sale at LL Bean, for instance.
It’s funny, the things that family members request as a memento when someone dies. For my two eldest sons (both in their forties and now living across the country) it was items they remembered from their childhood—the hand-painted river rock that was always on the fireplace hearth and the bright red lobster that hung on the wall over the stove.
My mother (who collected owls) had picked up the rock at a craft sale. On one side there was an owl and the words “Please turn me over.” On the other side, the words “Ahh, that feels better.”
The lobster (a true-to-size, bright red plastic replica) was a nod to the East Coast and both of my parents’ origins in New England.
Christmas was my dad’s favorite time of year and he lived to enjoy 90 of them before passing in his sleep in the comfort of his own home. In a departure from tradition, our small family gathering was moved to my house this year. “Gramps” would have enjoyed seeing the popcorn our granddaughter strung for the tree and hearing the classic Christmas music in the background. He might even have liked the salad and baked ziti in lieu of the usual full turkey or ham dinner.
This past year, whenever anyone would call or visit him and ask how he was doing, Dad’s standard reply was “I’m still here.” He is and he always will be. Right here in our hearts.