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Happy Birthday, Dad!

May 25th, 2006

Today would have been my Dad-o’s 64th birthday. (He has been gone since I was 9. Too long. And the years just keep flowing along, and him being here seems like a dream from a million years ago.)

I used to get pretty freaked out on and around the day of his death. Plus, it was in April. And April? Worse frickin’ month in Oregon, even under the best of circumstances. It is wet and gray here in April. “April is the cruellest month,” yeah no kidding. Highest suicide rates, supposedly, are March, April & May.

He was schizophrenic. He thought he was making the best decision. I try not to carry stats about death and suicide around because I am no Goth Chick. But that stat, about the suicide rates going up in the spring, got wedged in my brain and there you go. I won’t try to bullshit you — I still get extremely depressed in the spring. Then I’m happy, cuz of all the cute little chicks, puppies, kittens and babies. And my kids? So cute. And they look like my Dad, which makes me awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww I mean, how cool is that? He would have loved them! Then I get depressed because he’s not here. Still. And it’s pouring rain and life sucks. Still. Or again, depending on glass half-full/half-empty.

Then I’m happy! Then sad. Then morose! Then throwing things.

yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar yar

I’m v. grateful when June rolls around, believe me.

So I am tired of being sad — he was a v. cool man, who happened to have a damaged brain. And I don’t want to be bawling my eyes out when I think about him. Now I celebrate his life, and remember how totally fun he was, when he was feeling good and strong and not sick. And how much he wanted to be not sick. He wanted us to be happy, my sister, Mom and me, and he wanted to be healthy.

He loved playing baseball and basketball, going to games and coaching. He was 6’4″ tall. Total jock. Total skinny stringbean. Loved to draw pictures of me — my profile, me in my favorite dress. He was funny, and had a great singing voice. So the kids and I have a little party at the cemetary every year. We take cupcakes, flowers, pictures and drawings, and decorate all the graves (he’s buried in our family plot) and dammit, why does his birthday have to be smack up against Memorial Day?

Because my dad’s side of the family — so tragic. I can’t even talk about it right now cuz like I said — no tears today. But it is just macabre, really, that his birthday, this day of joy and celebration, would be next to Memorial Day. We’ll celebrate anyway.


  1. edj says

    All life is a mix of joy and pain…remember that long poem by Shelley we had to read at PSU? What was it…Ode to a Lark or something? (I’m educated, yes I am) It’s hard to say something meaningful in a blog comment, but what I am trying to get at here is that aren’t all memorials, except perhaps the most recent, days of joy and celebration and pain and longing, all mixed up? And that’s ok. I hope you and the kids have a wonderful time at the celebration. I miss my dad, too.

    May 28th, 2006 | #

  2. pamela says

    Both of my parents have passed away…Their birthdays are hard. I always wonder what it would have been like if/ when my Dad had been a Grandpa. ( He died of cancer when I was 22) I try to make sure my my kids know that I at least had a Dad. No matter what happened, he was your father, and you will always feel a connection. My mom attempted suicide, but died of a lung disease…Take care.

    May 28th, 2006 | #

  3. Anne says

    “I am tired of being sad.” That says it all.
    Missing someone you love, missing what could have been if that parent had been healthy, missing someone who died way too early…they all teach me the meaning of the word “bittersweet”. That ache is love, and it is so hard.
    Now I want to listen to Lucinda Williams’ “Sweet Old World” again. She wrote the song for her brother who committed suicide.
    I am not a religious person, but I really believe that those grandpas and grandmas who died before their grandkids got here are present and help us and show pictures of their grandkids to all those people on the other side at the least provocation.
    I loved hearing about your party at the cemetery. Like “Day of the Dead” in Mexico. Your kids are lucky to have such a funny, wise mom.

    May 28th, 2006 | #

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