Grief is a natural part of life, but it doesn’t lessen the impact that these moments have on us. This year has brought many great things, but also moments of sadness that have brought me to my knees.
Today would’ve been my dad’s 76th birthday. I’d say I miss him a lot today, but the truth is that I miss him every day. I miss his snarky commentary on subjects as diverse as the weather outside or Chicago baseball. I miss his piano playing, and the way he could rile up my mother like no one else could.
I’m all too aware that many of the things I miss now were not appreciated nearly enough before he died. As a teenager, I remember only irritation over my dad’s nightly piano concerts. I would lock myself in my room and turn up XRT until it was drowned out. Now I would give anything to hear him plink out "Fly Me to the Moon" one more time.
Grief can also come in the form of our four-legged friends. This week, our family said goodbye to our cat Nigel. He predated both kids and will be remembered as our first family pet. Nigel was every bit the personality that his name suggests, part beast, part sweetheart. Several days have passed and I’m still looking for him as I walk in the house, because he was the type of cat who greeted you at the door. The void he has left surprises me after months of scrubbing cat vomit out of my carpets. Like my dad’s piano playing, we don’t appreciate what we have until they are gone.
A Sinatra tune on a baby grand.
A meowing, furry doorman.
All the annoyances fall away when we realize how good we really had it.
Nora Kerr is the owner of Memoir for Me, specializing in memory books that capture a life story.