A lot of things have happened to me in the last ten years. A lot of things have happened the world over in the last ten years.
Pretty much the entirety of the Bush administration, the first half of the Obama administration, 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan, multiple Olympic games, all variety of other unfortunate terrorist attacks, the Pirates haven’t had a winning season, the Steelers won 2 Super Bowls, the Penguins won a Stanley Cup, the rise and fall of the Democratic and Tea Parties, numerous high-profile court cases, many births and deaths.
Personally, in the last ten years I graduated from high school, cooked through 3 serious girlfriends, bought a new car (after refusing to give up on my 1983 Olds until the transmission gave out), graduated from college with a BA in English Literature and a professional certificate to teach in Pennsylvania public schools, grades 7-12, worked for a variety of employers (both in a professional sense and in a part-time throw away type job), witnessed a large swatch of people come into and leave my life for any variety of reasons. I’ve done a lot of growing, I think, but there’s always more room to grow and develop. Today I finished the assembly on the pond I was building (photos to come tomorrow). I’ve genuinely done a lot of things that I am both proud of and ashamed of in the ten-year span.
Why ten years?
On July 27, 2001 my life was inexorably changed.
I awoke on the morning of July 27, 2001 to find a sight I will never, ever be able to forget. Something that will forever stay with me, for good and bad. I awoke to the hum and buzz of a variety of paramedics scurrying about the house. I saw my lifeless father on his back in his bed, being attended to by the paramedics. There was nothing that could be done. He had been gone a few hours before anyone woke up. Outside of some general health concerns that we knew about there was no indication that he was grossly unwell or nearing his end.
The night before/morning of his death I was cleaning my bedroom. The last thing he said to me was something about making sure I finished cleaning and gave me something of an exasperated look. This was in the early morning hours and he must have passed sometime between then and the early morning hours. Obviously neither of us were aware that would be the last time we spoke to one another. I don’t want to get into some “oh, well, you never know when the last time will REALLY be the last time” type speech. We know it. We’re all human and we do what we do in this life. I did not expect to wake to such horror. I wish I could forget, at times, the things I saw that morning. I wish I didn’t have to tell my aunt that her brother had died. I wish I didn’t have to live through my teens and 20’s without him or a major male influence in my life.
But I think he’d be proud of me and all that I’ve accomplished. I know I disappoint myself with some regularity, but I’m also an incredibly harsh critic of myself. I think he’d be pretty happy with how I turned out and what I was able to do in my time.
People tell me all the time how much I look and sound like him and how when they see me they can’t help but see him. I don’t mind that because he was a good man, outside of faults that have been discussed previously.
There hasn’t been a day since that has gone by where he hasn’t been in my thoughts in some way, shape, or form. I don’t expect that will change, either.