From the hallway of the administration building at my school. There's a "Mens Athletics" one next to this one, but I didn't think you needed to see both. I told you they remembered him.
The visit, as you can imagine, had me thinking of my dad quite a bit. Many people talked about him – talking about how the athletic program has been doing since he’s been gone, talking about how excited he would be that both his daughters are engaged, talking about how proud he would be that I'm going to be a teacher, talking about what a great guy he was and how they all still think about him all the time. Well, I do too.
Driving home, I passed by the hospital where he died. The hospital where I spent so many nights on a little folding cot next to his bed. The hospital where I wrote AP US History essays and worked on AP Prob/Stat problem sets. The hospital where I played hostess to my teachers as they came by to visit their fallen comrade. The hospital where I walked and talked and bemoaned life’s injustice with my dad. The hospital where I sang to him and said goodbye for the last time.
Continuing on, I passed the restaurant where we had his party in March of that year – a “roast,” of sorts, for his friends to all come and wish him well on his recovery. The restaurant where my dad stood in front of a hundred or more people and told them quite cheerfully that the doctors had every reason to hope he would recover fully soon. The restaurant where my dad’s childhood friends stood one by one to recount stories of their misspent youth. The restaurant where some of those friends, without knowing it, would say goodbye and never see him again.
Tears were beginning to creep to the corners of my eyes as I drove on, and then I passed Paul’s Coffee Shop, a little, hole-in-the-wall café owned by a very nice old couple. This was the place Dad used to take me on those special days when we would go to 6:30 mass before school. The place where we could spend an hour alone, just the two of us, getting to know each other a little better. The place where sometimes we would sit without speaking at all, because it wasn’t necessary to speak to enjoy each other’s company. The place I felt like I was just my dad’s little girl, and maybe – just maybe – that was enough.
And I started to sob.
Some days… well, some days are just hard. Seven years later, some days are still hard
I imagine some days will always be hard.