This is one of those posts that is required to begin with “I can’t believe it’s been 35 years.” (I’ve said that before.)
I think I have to stop using those phrases. Then again, maybe they mean I’m suffering for my craft.
I lost my Dad on this day in 1978. Thirty-five years. Heck, that’s much more than half of my life. It’s actually closer to two-thirds.
You can read the story of that day at the posts above.
The point is that I keep writing about this because it still matters. It still hurts. I didn’t have enough time with him.
Sometimes thinking about losing my Dad so soon still makes me angry. It always makes me sad.
There’s a poignant scene in the show I’m currently doing (Footloose at Dogwood Dell, why haven’t you seen it yet?).
Ren is talking to Reverand Moore and still lobbying to get permission for that dance. Ren points out that both men have lost something. Reverand Moore lost his son in an automobile accident. That started the crackdown on all things fun in Bomont. (Bomont? Where the hell is Bomont? – Don’t judge me, see the show).
Anyway, Ren points out that Reverend Moore lost a son and that he (Ren) has lost a father who went off to “find himself.”
Ren says “I bet you ask yourself why a thousand times a day.”
You have to see the show to find out what happens. (Two more chances. Friday and Saturday at 8:30 at Dogwood Dell).
In real life, things happen. We lose people. We lose things. Sometimes we lose ourselves.
I’m not sure I’m still asking why my Dad had to die so young a thousand times a day. But I think about him every day.
There’s still a gap that only he could fill. Still a place in my heart that’s just for him.
It doesn’t sting as much. I don’t double over with grief as much as I did in the days and weeks following his passing.
I eventually got used to the idea that he wasn’t around to answer my questions, to give me advice. I got used to it. I still don’t like it.
I look back now at some decisions and realize that, had he been there, I might have chosen differently. Maybe not. Either way, I’m too old to live with regrets of my decisions.
My Dad would have told me that.
This week also marks a 35 year anniversary of a significant event in Virginia polictics. On August 2, 1978, Senate Candidate Richard Obenshain died in a plane crash in Chesterfield. I was too consumed with events in my own family at the time to realize the significance.
That crash and Obenshain’s death led to the Senate career of John Warner. Love him or hate him, he served his country well.
Now Richard Obenshain’s son, Mark (16 at the time of his father’s death) is running to be Virginia’s next Attorney General. His father would be proud.