I finished my photo shoot in Rockland County last night just before midnight. I was an hour north of my sister Caren's apartment in Manhattan, so I didn't want to head south for an hour to drive five and a half hours north in the morning. I figured I would head north up Route 17 and see how far I could go before I needed to pull in to a rest area and get some sleep. Surprisingly, I made it as far as a rest area on Interstate 81 25 miles south of Syracuse. After an hour of tossing and turning in the drivers seat using Mushy, my plush bear that I bought Freshman year of college, as a pillow, I decided to get back on the highway. I don't normally travel with a teddy bear but he was accompanying Sarah who took the trip downstate with me to spend time with my little nephew Eddie, who is named after my father. We pulled in to the driveway at 5:52 a.m., so I texted my wife telling her we were home so she didn't freak and smash me over the head with a shovel when I came inside. I climbed in to bed and slept until 1:00.
I woke up, had a great breakfast of stuffed french toast that Sue made and then watched the Jets game. It wasn't until my sister Ellen called to see if I spoke to Mom yet that it dawned on me that today was the tenth anniversary of my Dad's death. How could I forget such a huge date? For the first 31 years of my life, my existence seemed to revolve around my Father. He was the center of the world. He was as powerful and vital as gravity and air, never faltering, just taking for granted that he would always be there. And then he wasn't. He lost a heartfelt but inevitable battle with esophageal cancer.
It is now ten years later and his gravitational pull is still as strong as ever, binding our family together. We all still feel the loss as if it were yesterday while at peace enough with it I suppose to be able to sleep half the day away before remembering it was December 4th. With the grief of my Grandmother's passing so fresh, it kind of puts some distance back to my Dad's passing. I see him everyday though looking back at me in the mirror. Sometimes the resemblance is so real I just chuckle and say, "Hi Dad."