Guest blogger Dani Klein Modisett: Next week it will be seven years that my husband Todd and I have been married, almost nine years since we met. And in May, it will be 13 years that my father is gone.
Obviously, I don't mean he left for a quart of milk and never came back. I mean deceased. With minor calculations you can see that he died long before meeting the most significant people in my life: Todd and our two sons.
My father was born in Philadelphia and lived the majority of his life in New York City. He loved Bialys -- basically flat bagels with no hole and chock full of onions. On the anniversary of his death every year I buy half a dozen Bialys and throw them in the nearest body of water. Usually, the Pacific. My five-year-old has gone with me for this ritual every year of his life. His grandmother on my husband's side is also dead so we throw a few in for her too. We drive to the beach and toss the bread into the choppy water, saying hello to Grandpa Vic's and Grandma Diane's spirits. Gabriel usually says something like, "Sorry you died," and then I say, "Me too," and then we watch the seagulls fly away with their unexpected treasure.
I don't talk about my father that often with the kids (or to anyone for that matter). I worry that, for me, death (and thoughts about it), have a magnetic pull on my mind. Once I start thinking about it, it becomes very hard for me to stop. Plus, it's still very sad to me that my father never met my wonderful husband and my little boys. Sounds horribly clichĂ©, but he would have loved them so much.
When I do bring up Grandpa Vic, though, Gabriel always says, "Oh I know him, Mom. H liked those funny bagels."
Hopefully when we are both more mature, I will figure out how to share more about my Dad with him. Because he also really liked to laugh, just like Gabriel.