Today is my dad’s ninth death anniversary.
When I was growing up, I remember my dad would say, “Today is the death anniversary of your Lolo (grandfather)…your Lola (grandmother)…your Tito (uncle)…” There seemed to be a death anniversary every other week. Sometimes my dad would tell a funny story about the person. Sometimes no story followed, just silence.
Was he thinking of where he was the exact moment he heard of the death? Or perhaps the last conversation he had with that person?
On April 23, 2005, while vacationing in the Philippines, my dad had a heart attack, followed later by a stroke, and then he was gone. I remember the phone call, the long flight back to the Philippines, the funeral, and the days that followed. The details are still so vividly clear, perhaps because everything was so final.
I’d like to remember how his last hug felt — when he dropped us off at the Vegas airport, gave the kids a dollar each for ice cream, and told us to stay out of trouble. I’d like to remember how his voice and laugh sounded the last time we spoke on the phone. But those memories are harder to recall because I was in a rush to catch the flight and in a hurry to get off the phone. I wish I had known.
Will this day always be an awful reminder of his death? I don’t know. After nine years, he is still so sorely missed on his birthday, every holiday, family event, and milestone.
Today I will call my mom, text my brothers, and meet my sister for lunch. I am blessed and so thankful that they are all still here with me. My dad would be mad if he saw us all still moping around.
Here’s one of my favorite pictures we took together:
According to Wikipedia, there are several cultures that observe death anniversaries. I’d love to know how (or if) you acknowledge death anniversaries.