My father died in 1998 and it is still hard to say that he is gone.
We had some great moments and several years of painful drama, but I take comfort that we were on solid ground when he took his final walk down Michigan Ave in Chicago and died of a heart attack.
It took several years for me to realize that the pain of his loss will be a constant companion.
It took even longer for me to welcome those unexpected tugs…from driving by a hardware store and remembering how fun it was to help out with small repairs to walking down grocery store aisles and recalling my father’s intense focus on food brought on by a childhood spent in hunger.
I miss my father every single day.
And every now…without setting a schedule or planning it all out…I pause in remembrance and do something that I know would make my father smile.
I eat a giant bowl of ice cream for breakfast.
Yep, ice cream.
Because my father once lied to some mean-girls at my grade school and told them that everyone who comes over to our house for a sleep-over gets ice cream for breakfast. I can still see the look of awe on their faces…can still feel the giggle working through my body…I still feel adoration for my father for knowing exactly what to say to those girls I so desperately wanted to impress.
Later, my father told me that only silly people follow silly rules and deny themselves ice cream when they want it.
If he were still with us, he would sit down next to me and dig into that ice cream with gusto.
I always add an extra scoop just for him.
Far too many people know the constant companionship of loss.
I know that they probably feel those unexpected tugs too.
And I hope that they also pause and do something special to remember…
…even if it is something as ridiculously perfect as inhaling a huge bowl of ice cream at 7 o’clock in the morning.