We met tonight, four years since my dad's death. It was more light, a moment I had been wanting to come to. Still there are days when I can't believe he's gone, or I wish I could hear his thoughts or look in to those eyes. The weight of his death has become familiar, though I'm still not happy to know it.
I was watching a movie last night, The Stories We Tell. It's Sarah Polley's attempt to unravel the truths behind the many lenses a story takes on when told by all the people affected. It's been on my watch list for a while and having time alone this week has made it the perfect choice. The story itself is heartbreaking and alive in so many ways. The documentary is okay but there is a moment at the end where she shoots each of the storytellers sitting with the reality of her mother's death. And in each face I recognized a familiarity: a silent knowing and a wordless pause that gives way to pain behind the eyes and deep-throated breaths followed by the stagnance only death can encompass.
We met tonight and there was little talk about the sadness behind the reason. The weather was rainy and fall was in the air. The place had a nice pub feel thought the 80's music was not setting the mood I anticipated. It was impossible not to be light with the music in the background. In fact we were quite funny about the whole thing. The only thing denying my perfect experience were the fruit flies. Still we sat talking about life and joking about things, as we always do, as we always will. Drinks in hand and wit flashing from our tongues.
Towards the end of the night a I decided to be brave and suggest my silly thought that came to mind on my way over in the car. It's versed in good tidings to a stranger and not really something my dad would do, though he probably bought his share of drinks in his day and would like the lightness of it. Nancy called it "the scholarship" and I thought it suiting for a nickname though not as intense or serious as that and possibly falling short of a true tribute a group of girls would want to send their loving father.
This idea is light in nature. It's about pushing a little positive in to some one's day, while breathing life in to the memory of our dad. For a moment, RAC's spirit could be at the bar while some lucky soul enjoyed a gin and tonic on his dime. My first attempt to describe this to the bartender was uncomfortable at best. That's why I prefer to write. I've got it down now: "With the cash we're giving you, we're remembering our father. Please tell the first person who orders a gin and tonic that Dick Cornish bought them a drink."
I left the bar soon after; I had to get home to the kids. On my way home I imagined years from now, when one day we might fall privy to the person at the bar getting the drink. I thought it might be fun to experience that moment. Nancy texted soon after I got home saying they met the guy who ordered the drink. She said it was a really cool experience. I have yet to hear the story but I like to think the world, for one more day, felt my dad's energy.