Today when I woke up, I was thinking of my father. It was a bit odd as, sadly, I don't typically view Memorial Day as anything other than a day off where I'm supposed to attend or host a cookout.
But, today, I couldn't get my dad off of my mind.
I haven't planted flowers at his grave in probably 8 years and I felt guilty about that, quite suddenly and unexpectedly. Of course, I should feel guilty about that because it isn't a difficult task exactly. I live less than five minutes from the cemetary.
He died when I was in the eighth grade and I had planted flowers every year until about the time Jenna was born. I think I imagined a conversation in my head with a future Jenna and tried to imagine what I would tell her about her grandfather.
He was a pothead.
He was an alcoholic.
He would be in the middle of playing with me when I was little when his girlfriend would show up and then he would leave.
Most of the conversations I had with your grandpa were through letters as he was in and out of jail for most of my life.
He always had a lot to say in the letters. They were long and loving and hopeful. But when he was out of jail and I visited him, he barely had two words to say. I inherited those skills. I have a lot to say in writing, but little to say in conversation. Perhaps this is why I avoid socializing.
He had six children (that we know of) but I never met any of my brothers or my sister until he died because he did not communicate with them. He only communicated with me.
He did your Uncle Chris a huge disservice by being his father.
And so I stopped planting flowers.
But when I woke up today, I was inexplicably overcome with emotion and I knew that, after not "visiting" for 8 years, I had to go.
There are other things about my dad that I can tell my daughter.
He was charming, he made everyone around him feel special.
He was a good writer. I wish I had saved the letters he wrote me so you could see.
He loved me more than any other father would have.
He could fix anything.
He would do anything for anyone for free, just because he was a good man.
He would have been so proud to call you his granddaughter.
That's all she needs to know about her grandfather and that's all I need to know about my father. I'm sorry I couldn't be more mature about my feelings toward him earlier.
He's dead. He died drunk and stoned. But he's gone and it doesn't do me any good to remember anything but the best about him.
So I planted the flowers and I beat myself up a bit. Quite a bit. And I cried a lot.
But I recognized what I should on Memorial Day.