My father died a year ago today, marking the start of difficult season of loss and grieving that lasted, two months to the day, to Catherine’s death this January, and beyond.
It has been hard going, by times, and settling into this changed life is still a work in progress. Time has healed some things, and amplified others. There’s anger in grieving, all manner of it, and things to be reckoned with; as the anger subsides it reveals gentler layers underneath, and, for both my father and for Catherine, many of those gentler layers are only just now coming to the surface.
Of all the photos I have of me and Dad together, I like this one the best: in the fall of 2004, sixteen years ago, we were visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia, part of an epic father-and-son trip to the old country. Toward the end of our walk through the park it started to rain.
We got soaked. Really really soaked.
But, as you can see from the smiles on our faces, we didn’t mind at all.
My father and I, especially in my teenage years, didn’t have the gentlest of relationships; of the arguments I’ve had in my life, the longest and most dug-in were with him. That we found ourselves in deepest Croatia, in the rain, with smiles on our faces, was a testament to our working through that.
You are missed and loved, Dad.