Seven years ago on this day, my dad passed away. There was already a significant amount of stress going on in our lives at that time. I had quit my job in order to build the restaurant and thus was unemployed, uncertain and now unable to communicate to my father and hear his advice first hand from his own words. The memory of that day is still pretty vivid. I’m sitting in the same place out on my patio this morning as I was the day when I got the phone call from my mom. It was right about this same time of day as I write this blogpost, a little before 8am.
Symbols, memorials, icons and other markers are very important to me. You’ll see them all over my restaurant if you have an eye to spot them. And this photo is of the latest acquisition. I recently bought a new chef knife and had it engraved with today’s date on the blade. Its a little way to remember the importance of the man who shaped my worldview, my politics and most deeply, my faith. Part of my grief in his passing was that I would never be able to pass a first pint to him across my bar and feel his pride in my work.
Last week my mom gave me a gift that I was not expecting, but it makes today even more meaningful in its retrospection. Mom sent me a manila envelope full of cards and letter I had sent to my dad during my days in college and graduate school. Dad didn’t like to talk on the phone very much, partly due to his hearing. While I was away from home, my plan was to call mom and write to dad. As I read through them this morning, I see the things that were important for me to say to him at the time. Ironically, they are the same things I want to be able to say today, only fast forward 25 plus years later. Thanks, mom, for hanging on to these, and letting me see them.
I’m glad I developed the exercise of letter writing back in the day. And I’m glad my dad had the practice of holding on to his memories. Like my dad, I too have a file of cards and letters from people who have written important messages to me. Its one of the first things i would want to rescue in case of a fire. Our mind gets muddled and unclear at time due to the stress we experience along life’s path. Having a way to recall those memories helps us remember what is true and what matters most.