I saw an old man today. He had white hair. I honestly don't remember if he was on TV or at the park where we took Sweet Girl today. I can't say where I saw him. What I remember was the emotion he evoked.
Out of nowhere, I missed my father. Terribly. Horribly. And all consumingly.
Dad died on September 27 in 2003. It's been nearly two years and yet I remember it like yesterday. Sweet Girl mentions nearly daily that her Grandpa is in Heaven and I agree with her. My mom moved in with us when he died since she couldn't afford to keep her home. So, it's not like I haven't come to terms with his death or that I am "pretending" he's not gone.
In some ways (and I might seem like a traitor for saying this), it is easier with him gone. He was a mean man to most people, especially my mother. He didn't have an easy life and he didn't make life easy on those who loved him. However, he mellowed in his last month of life. He died of lung cancer and was in a Catholic hospice for the last month of his life. I think being surrounded by people who loved God and were committed to giving him the most respectful death they could as a gift to him was what did the mellowing. Maybe it was spending so much time with Sweet Girl, who was a 3 year-old at the time and who would crawl into bed with him and snuggle while they watched TV. Maybe it was his realization that he was going to die and needed to make peace with his creator. Whatever it was, that last month was a gift. He was lucid right up to 2 days before his death and I enjoyed who he was more that month than many of the years prior to that.
Seeing the old man with white hair today brought back that Dad, the mellow Dad, and I missed him with a fierce intensity. Life being what it is, Sweet Girl soon needed me and Champs had a question and the emotions I were feeling were pushed to the back for later. But I haven't forgotten.
I miss you, Daddy.