I wrote this on Facebook a year ago today as 2020, the worst year of my life, came to a close.
"New Years has always been one of my favorite days of the year: sparkles, dancing, time with friends...the best! I have so many memories with my dad on new year's, in particular. I remember dancing with him in Bermuda at a resort and me wanting to stay out on the dance floor but him saying I tired him out- I couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7, and I recall getting pouty about having to rest for a while. (Dad was a great dancer, by the way! That might surprise folks.) In my middle school years when I was still too young to go to parties, I spent new year's eves with Dad at our kitchen table, watching movies, playing cards, and just hanging out together. As I got older, a new year’s eve never went by when either I was together with my family or I would get a call at midnight. There were years when I’d step to the side at some ~very~ lively social gatherings to wish my dad a happy new year, him either calling me at about 12:01 or me calling him, whoever got there first, bass blaring in the background wherever I was, yelling out an “I love you!” and plugging an ear with my finger to hear him telling me “Be safe!”
As much as I want 2020 to get in my rear view mirror, this year coming to a close is just a reminder of Dad getting further and further away and my memories of him getting fuzzier over time. For now, I can still close my eyes and see him and hear his laugh so clearly, and remember the exact way it felt to hug him. Next new year's it’ll be a little bit harder. The photo here is from a couple years ago when I organized a family trip to Asheville to celebrate new year's together - and I said this was going to be our new family tradition. I imagined my dad getting to dance with grandkids one day. I’m so sad that doesn’t get to happen. But tonight I’m going to remember the joy we felt together on NYE for so many years, and at 12:01 I’m going to think of my daddy.
Call your parents tonight and wish them a happy new year if they’re still around, friends. No, a text isn’t good enough. Love you all."
It turns out that my prediction was wrong a year ago: My memories of Dad aren't fuzzier. I can still close my eyes and see him and hear his voice. What's fuzzy for me is any memory of midnight a year ago – I'm certain I was crying and I assume my ex tried to comfort me as best he could. Or maybe he was asleep. I just wanted 2020 to be over.
This year my brother and I will talk at 12:01AM and we'll grieve for a moment together as we round the corner into 2022. I'm actually looking forward to this year, and I'm looking forward to thinking about my dad.