Today is my dad's birthday. He would have been 64 if his lung cancer and chemotherapy hadn't killed him in January. One year ago today, all of us trucked up to the hospital to see him. He was having diet issues and was going through radiation treatments at the time, so he was a pretty bony version of himself, but himself just the same. He crabbed at my mom and talked about how one of the nurses was stealing his pain meds (he turned out to be right though). He was glad to see the kids, though they wore on his patience eventually and asked a lot of questions about his IV and the bag at the end of his bed. We brought a cake, and the nurses had given him a mylar balloon that floated from the head of his hospital bed. I think we sang; I even think we lit a candle for him to blow out, but I can't be certain anymore. I took pictures with my cell phone that are still there. I don't look at them often.
I spend a lot of time wondering how my life now would be different if he was still here: questions I'd ask him, things I'd want his help with, conversations we'd have, what Thanksgiving and Christmas will be like. I hate admitting it, but some things are easier without him, or rather, without the problems that made his life hell. Though I've put many of my thoughts to rest about how he'll spend eternity, and how he's free of his many pains, and just exactly what all this life and death business means, my confusion still lingers. And I am still angry that he was taken away.
At work, I am quiet today. Nobody knows what's on my mind, and though I'd normally share it with a few close buds I have, I'm not interested. I need to mull over this; I need to be in this fog for a while. I need to remember what it's like to think of my dad and worry about him. I need to think of what I'd say to him if we were going over there tonight for dinner, which is what we'd be doing if he'd never gotten sick, or survived.
Today, I am acting like that's what happened, except that he isn't physically here. Only my mom's working, and I'm doing dinner at my house, and rather than having family over, it'll be our normal friends we have over for dinner. I don't really like that, but it's how things turned out. That, and all the immediate family members that I don't live with are inaccessible. So tonight, with whomever is there, we'll eat the famous barbeque pork loin. I don't know if there will be cake, mostly because I don't know if that would make our guests uncomfortable or not. And hopefully, as with me, my dad will be on all our minds, though I'm not getting my hopes up.
Of course, it doesn't really matter anyway; he's enough on my mind today for a whole house full of people.