So... it's been five years since my dad's sudden death and I was starting to compose a post in my head that I felt would have been up to the occasion, but then it got really late and I was really tired because of all the stuff I've been doing today and I was feeling bad about that, but then I realized, a whole lot of the stuff I was busy doing was entirely appropriate for remembering my dad.
I wrote a bunch of code. Finicky code, writing out numbers into html strings so they turn into orderly tables when chucked into an email. Dad thought computer programming was pretty interesting (he's the only reason I ever took a comp sci course) and while I don't know that he would have said he loved spreadsheets, it really looked to a lot of people like he loved spreadsheets. I remember him carefully taping together six or eight sheets of paper so he could properly survey the family budget at the end of the year and present it to the rest of us. So, code to print numbers in orderly tables — entirely appropriate for today.
At the playground, the kids were fine on their own and Mr. Right and I could talk but I couldn't stand still, antsy after all the coding. Jumping jacks, running in place, stepping exercises on the beams holding in the playground mulch — very much my dad. I remember him coming home from work and picking up a stretchy band or a compression bar and doing random exercises while chatting with us about the day.
I wore my giant overmitts. He always had cold hands and had a complex layering system of liner gloves, regular mittens, overmitts, Gortex shell mitts for the rain... I'm sad I got to be fast and reasonably skilled at knitting only after he died. I still sometimes think of knitting him some mittens. Dead loved ones are like amputated limbs; sometimes you get tricked into thinking they're still there.
And then, finally, I did some administrative tying up of loose ends. Re-upping my developer account, adding the Linux class (that's the one I wanted!) and dropping the Theory of Computation class (kind of sad, but I can't take both), checking a credit card expiration date... Boring but necessary and Dad was the sort to take care of that kind of thing on time and not complain about it.
He was also the sort to do a lot of reading, he always had a pile of books on the go at once and a few copies of the Atlantic magazine hanging around to be thoroughly gone through, perhaps underlined in a few places or a particularly great article clipped for sharing or saving (the one on Lincoln's depression is the one I remember most clearly). And then he'd initial the front cover and date it so he'd remember he'd read it.
I'm not sure he'd be too into audiobooks, what with the lack of something to scrawl an initial on or stack beside the couch, but I don't let that bother me. If he were still here, I'd be giving him a hard copy of The Antidote, which Mr. Right got for me and I'm almost done listening to. A sort of practical philosophical book on "the negative path to happiness". Stoicism and all that. Dad was a stoic in the better sense of the word, the sense The Antidote examines.