The one-year anniversary of Dad's death was tough, but I actually think it was tougher "looking forward" to it than actually experiencing it.
On the actual day, B & I were in California, spending a low-key day with his family touring the wineries in Sonoma. The day itself wasn't overwhelming. I got voicemails from siblings, sent text messages, and talked to Mom, but it was sad.
It's been too long since I talked to Dad. An entire year since I've heard voice on anything other than my saved voicemail or the video from the rehearsal dinner. (More than) 365 days since I've called him too early and woken him up on my way to work, had an excuse to buy an embarassing number of Peeps, or watched for sales on Diet Mountain Dew (as if Dad ever waited for a sale!).
But I (thankfully!!) still think of him. Every time I see Diet Peach Snapple tea, pass a McCallister's deli, or make one of his Mom's recipes. Coconut cakes make me smile. Alabama cups make me smile. Bad TV late at night makes me smile.
Some things still don't make me smile. I miss him like crazy when I'm on a long car trip and can't call. Dad had a million things to do, always off to buy more Mountain Dew, work one of his three random jobs that he loved so much, or simply enjoy his 5th morning cup of coffee. But he was almost always home. So you'd call Mom on your road trip and talk with her, then call Dad. Often you got the same stories, but there was a double-dose of comfort and company. I miss that.
There are things I'm sorry about with Dad. Not regrets, necessarily, but just things that I didn't notice enough or appreciate often. But one thing I did do the February before he died was to write him a letter and tell him how proud of him I was. Of course, he assumed it was something regarding taxes and didn't open or find it until April (again, love it!), but he did get it and I know he read it. I'm thankful for that because it gives me a little peace, and some grace that perhaps the times I didn't stop and sit with him are somehow balanced out.
I survived the anniversary without turning it into an "angriversary," as we feared last year, but I still struggle. Dad's birthday, and he and Mom's anniversary, are coming up. Keep the prayers coming! As for us, B & I are planning to celebrate the day with something Dad would've loved. Maybe we'll make Diet Mountain Dew floats.