Yesterday was the 3rd anniversary of my father's death.
But as often happens with the whole circle of life thing, yesterday, my mom's fiance's son Ryan and his wife Marina had their first child - a girl.
Here's me with Marina, my soon-to-be step-sister-in-law. Or something like that. Marina lives in Denver, where she is right now nestling in with her new wee one. Nothing like a new baby in springtime, is there?
Now I know it's a stretch to connect the new baby with the passing of my father. But I can't help pondering the cosmic symbolism here. I'm all for marking an otherwise deeply sad day with something hopeful and promising like a newborn life. This event hits home not only the obvious circle of life with death and birth but also, for our evolving family, the circle of life as it applies to the old-life death and new-life birth; namely, my mom's upcoming marriage to Gordy and the mingling of two very large local families as a result.
Yesterday I spent most of my time ignoring the fact that it was the 3rd anniversary of my father's death. If you ask my kids they'll tell you I'm not much for big lead-ups to big happy celebrations, much less sad ones. In a departure from what many practice, I almost find it irreverent, in some ways, to make a big hoohah about my dad's passing. I remember and grieve and shake my fists at the sky every single day. I don't reserve my honors and tributes and "why in the hell did you have to go and die, Dad?" for the anniversary. I'd rather that day pass by somewhat unrecognized, not wanting to give any more finality and credence to what's occurred than is necessary.
And so it was rather conflicting yesterday to chat about my new paint colors with my mom, whose blood-shot eyes gave her away, and Gordy, who was eagerly awaiting the update from Denver, while we avoided the topic of my father's passing. It was conflicting to temper my grief about just how much I hate the date 3/11 which will forever be marked with horror and trauma, with just how genuinely happy - and even relieved - I was to hear that a new baby was born into the family. Even if calling them 'family' has taken a while to digest and process.
I like them well enough. In fact I like them all very, very much. It's just all... surreal. You know?
And so my range of emotions tottered back and forth throughout the day and night. Jonathan couldn't sleep a wink all night long. I didn't suggest there may be that cosmic connection to explain his unrest. Brady's agitation came earlier in the month, when he had sudden memories of his final hours with my dad just days before he died. Rob just nodded quietly when I brought up the significance of yesterday's date and said, "I know. I've been thinking about him all day."
I'm happy to have something else - something amazing - mark March 11th from now on. Now when my stomach turns at the thought of that date, it will be followed by a softening... and a celebration.
Our congratulations to the entire Dirksen clan! Now please come visit so I can hold that baby.