When people say that people you love who die are always in your heart, that is so true. For instance my father, aka Captain Splendid is forever embedded in my heart and soul. He was, among many other things, my spiritual adviser and much of the wisdom he shared with me throughout my life continues to guide my path. His spirit comes to me in the wind on a regular basis. But I miss him in person in such a fierce way. It really stops me in my tracks at times.
Today, while spring cleaning I came across his business card and the tears started to flow, as they do often when I spend any length of time dwelling on how much I miss him. My talented sister designed this card and accompanying stationary for him. This was a couple of years after he got blindsided with a major stroke that left him with literally half a brain, and disabled in so many ways, including, but not limited to, being completely paralyzed on one side. However, he was such a neurologically diverse fellow, that half his eclectic brain was honestly the equivalent of most people's full deck.
Once, after the stroke, he came to visit us with my brother. He fell in the bathroom in the middle of the night and it took my big strong brother and big strong husband to get him up off the floor. Once they got him back into bed, I slathered him with arnica cream and held a cold washcloth on his forehead. I eventually got under the covers with him and held his hand. He looked over and said "Can you fucking believe this?" I knew he meant the whole thing, the colossal predicament that the stroke was and how utterly defining it was, how awful, how permanent, how there was nothing he could do about it it. I looked straight into his eyes and we spontaneously burst out laughing, and it just got more and more funny with each passing minute. We laughed ourselves inside out, howled and screamed. It was so NOT funny but what else could we do? It was either that or sob our guts out. He lived for many years after that stroke, way beyond any expectation and managed to keep a positive attitude throughout.
But the Dad in my heart that I miss so much is the Dad before the stroke, the whole Dad, the Dad who could hug me with both arms, who taught me how to swim and body surfed with me on a regular basis in the Pacific ocean, the Dad who excitedly pulled me out of bed in the middle of the night because the sky was so lit up he thought aliens had landed on the beach. We jumped into the car and sped there only to find out that the lights were flares that the Coast Guard had shot up for a lost boat. I miss that crazy diamond Dad, who skipped through the room, with an imaginary jump rope -on a regular basis. I miss that Captain Splendid. Every day since the stroke.