Milestones

Yesterday, my father would have been 80.

I was at work at the hospital until 9:30p and almost forgot about the meaning behind October 3rd until I was caring for a patient with a new cancer diagnosis.

In nursing, though, the hectic pace of the day tends to leave little room for thought about the rest of life and I was glad to be busy.

I had never really thought of my dad as “old” until he was ill with cancer and it made him look hollowed out and lifeless. Maybe, I would have thought him “old” at 80 but his death in 2009 robbed me of the opportunity to see him as he would have been now. I can barely remember the sound of his voice at times. Photographs help but frustrate me with their two dimensions. The memory is a funny thing. When the moth of time has begun eating away at the facts and details of a memory, the imagination fills in the holes to create a slightly different version of the reality that was there before. While memories are comforting and it may have been better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, nothing compares to the real thing.

Dad at the Trinidad airport in 2005.

Dad, in remission from cancer, at my cousin’s wedding in Grafton, Wisconsin in 2008.