I woke up this morning feeling grouchy, out of sorts, ornery. I woke up with the vague memory of a bad dream still hovering around the edges of my foggy brain. I woke up not wanting to be awake, but feeling the pressure to get up and get a move on.
Today is the third annual “Octopus’ Garden” event, hosted by my family. The purpose is mostly to raise money for research into the prevention and treatment of melanoma. We rent a hall, serve tons of food, perform live music and auction off a whole bunch of stuff to our friends and relations. We smile, we chat, we dance around. Its theoretically fun.
But the undercurrent the whole night, at least for me, is the gaping hole that is left by the absence of my Dad, taken from us almost three years ago by that awful disease. He’ll be looking over my shoulder all night, as I slice cheese, arrange crackers, serve sandwiches. I’ll hear his voice in my ear, his laugh will echo inside me all night. I’ll keep catching glimpses of him out of the corner of my eye. He’ll be there, but I won’t be able to reach him.
Dad wasn’t a physically big man, but he was a huge figure nonetheless. He was a presence. He exuded warmth, and charm, and kindness. He drew people to him, and left each one feeling a little happier for having seen him. His absence leaves a gap as large as his presence. It is a gap that is impossible to ignore.