We've been honored to know a few college graduates this season, which made for a busy May. N. had the delightful opportunity to attend her cousin's university graduation ceremony in DC! And we beamed when N. completed her last day of preschool.
My Dad would've been 78 years old this month. With every special moment whether it's N.'s moving up last day event at preschool, a good day at swim class, or her first day of camp, I so very much wish he were here to know her. Sometimes I wish I could just make a phone call and get his opinion on a small home improvement project.
It's been nine years since he died. I lit a candle in church yesterday to honor my Dad's memory.
Memories flood me. Dad trying to teach (unathletic) me how to play tennis. Dad attending my parent/teacher conferences in high school. How he supported my community fundraisers and projects when I worked with Filipino American youth and would make his friends tag along too. How he came with me on my first home hunt (because I clearly wasn't getting married then and had been renting for nine years). Along with my mom, their first meetup with A. for breakfast at Little Quiapo in Jersey City, and my mom regretfully said that she should have cooked a traditional meal at home.
The thing about good memories is that when our loved ones are dead and gone, we have images in our mind that conjure up meaningful experiences. The feelings reemerge as if we were present at those very specific moments full of love and affection. I am nostalgic. But the nostalgia groove can only last so long as reality nips.
I go on a run. I reconnect with myself and my emotions. I am thankful to have spent my Dad's dying days with him. I am thankful that we were able to know each other as father and daughter in my adulthood before cancer took over, that I was able to appreciate him not only as my Dad, but as a person too.
My mind may be busy as I continue to live without my Dad physically present, and I realize that gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart, not in the mind.