Today it has been 10 years of life without my father and it is hard for all of us to understand it's been this long. I remember that St. Patrick's Day in 2001 with crystal clarity. Remember the call from the nursing home that said if I wanted to be there, I should come quick, remember hurrying through downtown streets surrounded by Saturday shoppers and fluffy flakes of snow, chanting pleasewaitpleasewaitpleasewait. Remember getting there and remember us holding my father, talking him over, telling him it was all right to go, remember feeling so honoured, so moved that he let us share the moment of his death. Remember understanding why it is called a passing, seeing that it is a journey and an active one from this life into something else.
Every year in March, in the weeks leading up to the date, our days are edged in sadness, in missing him more. And every year, we have a cry and then we spend some time talking about our life with him, celebrating who he was and always end up laughing, with tears and without, because my dad was a very funny man who loved having a good time. And that makes us smile about him choosing St. Patrick's Day to go, because he would be forever commemorated by a big, continent-wide party.
A few days ago, I got a card from Janne. She had gone through old photo albums, found pictures of dad and us in laughing times and sent copies and it was so beautiful a gift. Because there he was, laughing, clowning, dancing. Seeing him in these pictures made the crying easier and the laughing, too. And in the best of ways, we celebrate my father's life again.