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Death Day

February 7, 2011

Edward Charles Farrell

11/2/42 – 2/7/83

My father died 28 years ago today. I awoke already knowing I’d spend the day working on my manuscript and nothing else. I called my mother. We spoke little of it, but shared other woes: a big transition in her life that has left her uneasy, a medical issue in mine that has left me uneasy. I leafed through a book about grief. I looked at his picture. I worked on a memo that pertains to the scholarship my mother started in his name. I thought of my female friends. I thought of how lucky I’ve been lately to recognize how powerful is a female friendship. My husband came home and asked how I was doing. We spoke little of it, but shared good feelings about work, about writing, about the cats, about each other. I lit a candle that will soon burn out. It’s a tea light in a small glass purple holder, and it creates a lovely glowing ring on the table.

The day, mundane. Maybe that’s what it needed to be. On February 7th, 1982, my father probably worked on a project, called my mother, leafed through a book, worked on a memo, kissed his daughters on our cheeks after we said our prayers. He didn’t get to do that on February 7th, 1983, so maybe the way I can honor him on this day is to do what he can’t.

Without knowing for sure, I’d bet the world my father was a funny guy. He was tall. He smiled a lot and acted surprised when his daughters made him cards and cakes. He was fair. He was involved. He loved to read and play chess. He was a terrible softball player. He was good to his sisters and brother, to his parents. He loved circuits. He made things with his hands. He volunteered a lot. He made my mother unbelievably, impossibly, happy.

It feels funny to say, “I miss you, Dad.” How to miss what you can’t remember. Of course, however, I still do. I miss you, Dad.

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