This morning, still half-asleep, I rolled over and asked my husband what time it was. It was 8:20 a.m. and I should have been awake and out of bed at least half an hour earlier. I didn’t jump up right away, but lay there thinking for a few minutes, letting my mind wander wherever it needed to go.
In the year and a few months since my father died some of his more endearing quirks have come back to me. You know those things parents do that embarrass or frustrate us when we’re kids and later seem kind of sweet? Those things. My father wasn’t an easy man to be raised by, so there aren’t many moments that I can describe as sweet or warm. But, thankfully, some memories settle on me gently these days. My father never lost his “old country ways”. His place in the world was strictly defined by his speech patterns and attitudes and he held fast to that to the end.
This morning I remembered the way he’d give the time; it was half past, five of, or a quarter past, with no reference to the hour. Half past what? 3:00? 5:00? It was yet another fine point of contention between generations and cultures, in the power struggle between parent and teen.
Today I’m a little sad, not because I miss him – we never had enough relationship to miss now – but because we never had enough relationship for me to miss him now. He was, in many ways, a good man who did his best. That’s what I think about now. I remember that he sang at the top of his lungs, horrifying us kids because the neighbors could hear. An overheard turn of phrase or line of dialog in a movie reminds me of my father in his better moments. And some of his not so great moments.
It’s the nature of loss and grief that memories sneak up on us in quiet times. In the ten minutes it took me to completely wake up and start my day I missed my father.
The clock on the wall reads a quarter past.