On the turntable CSN&Y's "Carry On" is spinning and it seems apropos to the day.
Today is the third anniversary of my dad's death. At breakfast, Mom asked, "can you believe it has been three years?" I felt bad saying yeah, but that's exactly what it feels like. I have no problem placing that day in my history or remembering who I was and who I have become. I'm not clearheaded on all matters, but in this I know what's what. Like the song says, a morning came when I woke up and knew he was gone. He went his way and I go mine. We carry on.
Shortly after he died, a friend invited me to drink bourbon and hang out. We drank two-thirds of a bottle of Basil Hayden. About an hour into the bottle, he said, "tell me about your dad." I paused a moment, then told stories. Good ones. The kind that made Dad almost present in the room with us. The whiskey helped, but mostly it was a friend indulging my grieving and healing.
I still find myself conflicted some, but mostly over what others need. The cemetery is a good example. There's nothing there for me. It's a place of solace for others, but for me there's no one there. I worked there as a kid, cutting grass, trimming trees, watching the backhoe dig and fill graves. Dad was a funeral director. I was around the dead and the grieving often. Because of that, I don't find Dad at the cemetery nor do I need him to be there. I have no choice but to carry on and it becomes easier each day to rejoice, rejoice as I accept the sky, the night, the sun, and the love in my world.
The record has moved onto Neil Young's "Helpless." I'm shaking my head. I like the song, but it's not how I feel. Dad rarely seemed helpless and that was the thing I most wanted to learn from him. The car breaks down miles from home? Fix it. There isn't enough money in the bank? Make more. Dad died suddenly? Carry on.
Carrying on is asking and trying to answer such questions. I wonder where I'm going, where I'll be tomorrow. I'm curious but not worried because the answer to the questions about happiness and sorrow have obvious answers. I've already found a vein of happiness and am mining it for all its worth.
I find myself often reminded of the man and smiling a little. Then I say, "hey, Dad," and I carry on.