It was six years ago today that my father died. And I still hear his voice inside his head or think about him and my mother every single day. It’s something that I am eternally grateful for even if the memories aren’t the best sometimes. Those memories and the voices that accompany them are the way to keep them alive forever.
My dad had a lot of sayings, and if he didn’t have a saying of his own he had a quote from a movie or a tv show (something which drove my mother nuts sometimes). He wasn’t always the best at following his own advice sometimes but then neither am so yes, it’s the thought that does count. But I always felt like he had the words when they were needed and it was his greatest gift that he shared freely and generously.
People tell me I’m a good storyteller but to be honest, I have nothing on my father. That man could tell a story like no one else I’ve ever known. One day he asked me if was tuning him out when I was listening to one of his stories from long ago but I told him I wasn’t. I was recording them in my mind and they’re still there. Someday I hope I can figure out a way to write them down and share them. And yes, I’d give anything to hear those stories yet again.
In many cultures the world over, stories and songs and such are memories of people that have gone before us. I think that when we leave this Earth in physical form we leave behind an echo of who we were, and if we listen close enough we can hear those echoes through eternity. Or to honor my father here and insert a movie quote I’m fond of, “What we do in life, echoes in eternity.” (from the movie ‘Gladiator’).
So for those of you who have lost loved ones, cherish those memories. My father and I used to talk about memories a lot, about how the bad ones would come without invitation and get through every barrier we tried to erect against them. But then one day my father said to me: “I choose to remember the good times.” It was his way of saying that even though those good memories can sometimes feel painful, we should remember then anyway.
This morning as I was out driving, I was heading east just as the sun was coming up. And I heard my father’s voice in my head with one of his sayings that I heard a lot when he was alive. It was something his father had told him and he passed it on to me. And it was this: “No matter how bad a day you had, no matter how awful you’re night was, over there is East. And the sun is going to come up no matter what happens and you’re going to get another day to work with. Try to make the most of it.”
I know that sounds like it’s easier said than done but it’s the truth. I know I can let voices in my head tell me I’m a worthless sack of crap or that why bother. But I know those voices lie, and the voices of my father and mother and those that went before me don’t. I listen to their voices and remember them and not the assholes who pissed all over my parade.
So here’s to you, Dad. The Dad with a quote for every situation, a story for every time, and a memory that will always live on for me.