Patterico's Pontifications

2/19/2006

Unpacking Memories

Filed under: Real Life — Patterico @ 7:49 pm

My Mom told me that memories of my Dad would come unexpectedly. She’s been right.

For example, shortly after I got back from his funeral, I did a preliminary hearing on a murder (and attempted murder) case in which some of the witnesses and shooting victims had ties to street gangs. At one point, the defense attorney asked one of the victims about the activities of his gang. He resorted to a bit of sarcasm in his questioning: “Well, it’s not an organization like the Rotary Club or the Kiwanis Club, is it?”

After the hearing, the court reporter asked me if I knew how to spell Kiwanis. Of course I did; the club was a big part of my Dad’s life for years. I spelled it for her, and tried not to let her see me tearing up.

As we have unpacked this weekend, we have run across numerous sets of photographs. I have looked at only a fraction of them — mostly the ones already in frames. There’s the one of Dad with a younger Patterico and Mrs. P. There’s the one (now on the fireplace mantlepiece) of Dad cradling a baby Lauren. (She just celebrated her sixth birthday, which he didn’t live to see.) You should see the look on his face.

Luckily, inside my own house, I don’t have to hide my tears from anyone. I guess they’ll always come, as long as I live and love.

11 Responses to “Unpacking Memories”

  1. You have my sympathy. I can tell from your descriptions that he was a great father and that you grew up in a wonderful family.

    DRJ (3c8cd6)

  2. The oddest things will bring you to tears. Just like the Kiwanis for you, anyone with a tie to Great Britain or with a British accent gives me that reaction.

    The oddest thing that made me cry, though, was the day I looked down at my hands and realized they looked exactly like my mother’s. It was strangely sad and comforting.

    sharon (fecb65)

  3. It has been almost six years since my father past away. I miss him with every day as my sons get older. I would like to ask him questions and let him act like an intermediary when the boys and I are at odds. The way my Grandparents did when he and I disagreed.
    Today I was watching “Field of Dreams”. I lost it when Costner asked his father, if he wanted to have a catch.
    We probably couldn’t play catch anymore, but I sure do miss what it meant to us.
    Cry as you need to. It is healthier than not doing it. Rely on your friends and Mrs. P. They can help and some will have their own grief too. Your tears will help them express their own. Good luck and Godspeed.
    TLD.

    That Lawyer Dude (09e05b)

  4. My father died when I was 13, 35 years ago. He never knew my son, never walked me down the aisle or saw me get my driver’s license or graduate from high school or become a writer. He never saw me grow up to become someone who embraced his values, outlook and work ethic as an adult. 35 years have not dimmed the memories. In fact, as I age, the memories brighten to more clarity, as if the picture on the t.v. set has been adjusted for brightness, and some memories return which I have not thought of since childhood.

    They are always with us, always; losing them is never easy. Godspeed to you.

    Laura (36fa0c)

  5. You’ve heard this I’m sure; but this quote‘s gotten me through some tough times:

    When it gets dark enough, you can see the stars.

    Psyberian (4aee78)

  6. P,
    am not sure where this came from but it sort of gave me permission when my mom passed away.

    Cry not tears of sorrow for your loss rather, cry tears of joy that he walked this earth.

    Either way I told myself, it’s OK to cry.

    paul (464e99)

  7. My father passed away in 2001. He never got to see my daughters. I think of him often when I’m watching them play. I know he’s somewhere laughing as their fearlessness scares me, just as mine scared him.

    As time passes you’ll start to remember more of his life, and a little less of his death. My father’s death from cancer haunted me for a while, now I remember how well he lived his life.

    God Bless.

    HD Wanderer (af777f)

  8. As time passes you’ll start to remember more of his life, and a little less of his death. My father’s death from cancer haunted me for a while, now I remember how well he lived his life.

    These are wise words, HD Wanderer. My mother died 18 years ago when I was in my 30’s. I was married with a young child and another one on the way. I was saddened that she missed that part of my life, and especially sad that I wouldn’t have her to share those things with.

    Even though my mother had been ill, it still took me at least a year to get over the shock of her death. (I read somewhere that the first year is so hard because it reminds us of things we experienced with them. For instance, each holiday that you spent together is that much harder to handle after they are gone because your frame of reference is to have them there with you.) It’s hard to prepare for death and I even had a feeling of being orphaned, as ridiculous as that sounds when I still had a parent and family.

    After a year, my shock turned to sadness but ultimately I was able to remember my mother for the good times, the truly funny things that happened, and the joy she had in her life as a woman, wife, and mother. Now it’s pleasant to think of my mother and to reminisce about things we did or to think about what she might say or do. Time heals, but it is also kind. There will come a time when you will be grateful for all those tender memories and you will want to remember them.

    DRJ (3c8cd6)

  9. My most heartfelt sympathy goes out to you. Dad left us all about three years ago, and as many have already said, I still think about him at least once every single day. The greatest sense of loss is that I will never hear his voice or get personal advice or comfort from him in this life. However, I do also know and believe with all my being that he is still with me in so many ways – and not just memories. He was definitely one of my great heroes, guiding (along with mom) me and my four siblings along with a firm, yet surprisingly gentle manner. Probably one of my most cherished phots of him is with me in it: it is a pic of him saluting me on the day I was commissioned in the Army. He was a retired NCO and the look on his face is so fabulous. To tell you what that photo means to me, it was and still is the only photo I have ever had on my desks throughout my adult life. It is a silent and constant reminder about my roots, an I still tell my mom that I hope I can live up to be at least half the man I believe my dad was. Done now.

    MikeW (9f37aa)

  10. My father died last Memorial Day.I’ve told patients the worst deaths are when no one mourns.Your father had the added bonus not only of loving you,but the respect that comes when an offspring is doing work to heelp others.Condolences

    Lincoln (1e0cc3)

  11. Hi Papa P; while at the Peace Park in Nagasaki Japan a couple of years ago I asked our host who’s mother and father were from there, how she handled the memories. She said something that I thought at the time was a bit different: “they are like the Lotus blossom that weathers and falls from the tree, it floats down the river and is not thought of again.” Just last week I came to understand. When you close your eyes and think of the Lotus blossom their are only perfect and beautiful visions in your head you only remember the blossom at its best never the weathering. Enjoy the memories and give everyone a hug from uncle Steve.

    Steve (41f27d)


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