Since my Dad died, there has not been a day that has gone by when his memory hasn’t entered into my mind. The daily memories vary. At times it is just his face, every now and then I am fortunate to hear his voice saying my name, and sometimes I hear him laughing.
What triggers these memories is just as varied as what I remember. They can be overt, like looking at the picture I keep of him in the sun visor in my car or fielding questions about him from my kids. Other times, the triggers are subtle, like a simple bump in the road or watching a movie.
The other night I was watching Mel Brooks’ ‘History of the World Part 1’. I had DVR’d it some time ago but had been unable to watch it until the other night (iCarly and TVLand had taken precedent as I was left cursing myself for teaching my family how to DVR shows). I wanted to wait until everyone was in bed because it is not a movie a 9 and 6 year old should watch and my wife would spend the time rolling her eyes, asking me when it was over, and unable to understand why the movie could make me laugh until I cry.
So the other night I waited until I saw the light go out in our bedroom then settled in to my sofa and hit ‘Play’.
Not long after Sid Caesar’s caveman discovered music, my own laughter was overshadowed by my memories. I heard, above the parody, dialogue, and my own laughing, my Dad’s laugh. My father loved to laugh and got more pleasure out of making other people laugh (usually at him). If you were never lucky enough to be in his company to hear it (as most of you were not), his was a laugh indescribable. It could fill even a noisy room, was impossible to not make you smile and more than likely, you would find yourself joining him in even if you weren’t quite sure what he was laughing about. It was a laugh that could bring him to tears given the right circumstances. Now here I was, alone on my sofa imagining him sitting next to me, laughing at the same jokes I was laughing about.
I miss my Dad’s laugh.
I was happy to be able to have that memory back, even if it only lasted for 92 minutes of the movie.
I watched the entire movie even though it kept me awake much later than I should have stayed awake. It was worth every minute that passed and every joke that played on my television. It was one of those subtle moments I so try so hard to find but only makes itself known when fate seems ready.
I kept watching that night, even as the credits rolled.
After almost 7 years of not having him next to me, I still treasure the moments that bring him back. It doesn’t matter how or why either. It could be an old jacket hanging in my closet that carries faint traces of his cologne on it, a Q&A about him with my girls, or a Mel Brooks’ comedy from 1981. I welcome all the memories these moments give to me. They keep his spirit alive, they remind me of the man he was, and every now and then, they make me laugh, until I cry.