The crack of the bat pierces the air like a sharp rifle shot. The crowd cheers as the runner rounds third and scores standing up. He high-fives his teammates, tips his cap, and returns to the dugout, smiling.
I lean forward in the excitement, ready to leap into the air in celebration, but I catch a glimpse of the empty chair to the right of the television – your chair – and I fall back. I cannot reach that level of excitement without you with me to share it; and you can’t be here.
You have been gone ten years, and once again I feel how much I miss you.
I remember the days surrounding your passing, and how bizarre thoughts invaded my attempts to stay rational and emotionless. I counted back the years and realized that 2000 would be your last championship season. I wondered if we would have celebrated even more had we known that at the time.
When another championship came our way in ’09, I couldn’t help but feel how empty a victory it was, without you there to give me that wise half-smile, always reserved, never full-blown or out of control. Still, in my eyes, the food-crumb of that smile to others was a banquet to my hungry heart.
I cried on that occasion, too, knowing you had missed it. The chair sat empty in respect to your absence.
You have been gone ten years, and I feel the pecking order of time pushing me ahead. I feel the urgency to do things while time still smiles upon me.
All of the advice given to me by others: all those words meant to give solace and take away pain, seem convoluted, backwards, and perhaps even wrong. Time will ease the pain. Time will erase the memory. Better to forget than to grieve: nonsense!
Give me that pain, for it unveils my heart. My tears are shed in love, nothing else. I would gladly suffer the grief of a thousand lifetimes than to forget one single day of the joy we had together.
You have been gone ten years, yet you will never leave.
My mentor, my teacher, my hero, I need to let you know how much I still love and miss you.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Wanna watch the game?