525,600 minutes (x 42).

Standard

I have to write something, because I am going to speak at the Mass for my father on Friday. Seems I have no problem writing when I think people may or may not read it, but when I have to write for public consumption…I am suddenly at a loss for words. This post is my attempt to get my thoughts together to prepare what I am going to say. I have always loved this song from “Rent”, since I first saw the show in NYC about 17-18 years ago with Stacy. I thought then and still think now that it is very profound and powerful. 525,600 minutes….how do you measure a year in the life? How about love? Measure in love. Remember the love. What beautiful words.
Today was an awful day…we had to go through all of the formalities of preparing for a funeral. But, while doing so Lisa found letters that my father had written to me, my brother, my uncle and her prior to going into the hospital. Mine had some code in it to translate….from the font “Wingdings” to English. Typical of my father to try to make something fun out of what he saw (and feared) could be coming…the end of his life. The code translated to “Hi….love you very much and have always tried to do my best for you”. Simple. Sweet. Perfect. And so, so true.
So, what am I going to say on Friday? I am going to say how lucky I was…I am going to tell a story that I think exemplifies who my father was. This sounds easy, but, I am really struggling…I don’t want to leave out anything. Like….how he always made sure I had a “Dawn” doll on hand as a little girl, because he knew how much I loved them…and how I wanted “long hair coming down” like they had. Like, how many times he painted my room when I was a picky teenager. Like, how we’d go to the “little beach” on the boat or go clamming in the Great South Bay. How he helped me move many, many times, painted, hung fences, rigged fences (right here at my current home, and even though it has been properly repaired, I can’t make myself take his “solution” down) and always came to see me often in my ‘hood, no matter where it was.
What I am not going to say is what I regret, and there are some things. I regret being confused after my parent’s divorce and letting my mother’s bitterness color my relationship with him. I regret being afraid to say I love you for so long. I regret making him worry with my sometimes irresponsible ways. I regret never asking him exactly why he loved the Rolling Stones. I regret not having him walk me down the aisle, and not having an aisle to walk down. Paul and I had talked about having another “real” wedding someday, in which I could wear the dress I bought, and my father could properly “give” me away. Now that can never happen. That’s the thing with “someday”….it disappears before you even know it.
Maybe what I’ll say is how proud I am of him for everything he did for all those he loved…..maybe I’ll say how he made “crazy eyes” in pictures a lot and how when we were looking at pictures yesterday, we laughed and laughed at just how often he did it. Maybe I’ll say when I asked him to do it for a picture while he was in the hospital, he said “I have no idea what you guys are talking about” and promptly proceeded to do it. Maybe, I’ll say that he loved the Rolling Stones, the NY Yankees and Giants almost as much as he loved us. But, that he especially loved these things when he could share them with us. I think I will mention his amazing meatballs. For an Irish/German guy…..they were truly sublime.
I guess the important part is that I convey what we already know…..my dad was a really amazing guy and that we were all blessed to know him.
Ok…now I am primed and properly inspired by blasting Stones songs on youtube. Time to get to the business of saying goodbye. He would like that….me using the Rolling Stones to inspire a eulogy.

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