He has been gone for over two years. Tomorrow will be a special day. Tomorrow would have been his eighty-second birthday. We have already seen two Father’s Day weekends pass. Two other birthdays. His wife’s eightieth. Two Christmases. Two wedding anniversaries. I am two birthdays older. We all are. Are these special days?
How many ways do we remember? We remember moments. I remember when I am shaving and see his eyes look back at me from the bathroom mirror. I remember when I hear an instrumental version of a Beatles song in a shop. Or, much less often, the jaunt of the Tijuana Brass.
I remember when I see a man with a walking frame. I remember in bookstores. I remember when I hear the word ‘Malaya’, a place he was posted decades before I was conceived, in a job he left when I was born.
When I wake myself snoring, I think of him. When I watch the weather report. When I pass a market stall.
I remember when I look at my photo albums. I remember when I see his picture on the wall, looking back at me and the people I love. He is wearing my silly hat. His expression is Quixotic. He is present, but already leaving. His Alzheimer’s was winning. His first cancer in remission, his second growing, unobserved.
I remember when I speak to his wife, my mother. I remember when we speak of him. I remember when we do not.
What do we do to remember them on the special days? Every day is a special day.
Originally published on Cowbird, 3 October 2013.