But the feeling's still there.
I got up yesterday to a text message from my brother in New York, who at 7 a.m. HIS TIME, thought it'd be swell to be the first to acknowledge October 25th with "Can you believe it's been 16 years? Love you all..."
When I got that at 4 in the morning, I thought "Sixteen years since what?"
The next morning when I really woke up, I realized it was the anniversary of my Dad's death.
Boy do I still miss him.
I was on the way to the store yesterday flipping through radio stations when "Dance With My Father", a song sung by Luther Van Dross, came on.
If you've lost your Dad, you know the song. If you haven't, you probably don't. Good for you.
But as I drove towards the store, the song came on, and before I knew it I was sobbing at an intersection, reaching for the Kleenex behind the passenger seat, and hoping I could get my shit together before walking into the store to buy Brian a bottle of his favorite Jack Daniels.
I really didn't feel like as much of a wreck as I looked that moment, but no one wants to walk into a liquor store looking like you're a train wreck.
I pulled into the parking lot, I looked skyward and said "I sure miss you Dad."
I remember my last conversation with my Dad. It was the Monday before he died. I would call him on Monday mornings while I was doing my filing and paperwork from the week before, and we would talk sometimes for as much as an hour.
That week they had a lot going on at the ranch they had recently moved to in Colorado. Dad told me about the meetings they had been to, and some of the politics they were running into there.
As most people know, I do a lot of talking, but this particular week, Dad talked the most. The last thing he said to me was "Thanks for listening, Julie. I love you."
I used to reimburse the company for our phone calls, so I kept the bill from that last phone call for years. I probably still have it somewhere.
It doesn't take much to go back to those days...to remember the loss, the drive out to Colorado with my brothers. The funeral, the cards, the kind people of Galeton, Colorado who did everything they could to put us all up and give Dad a proper service.
In the two short months they'd been there, Dad had already endeared himself to several people in town, of course. He was that kind of guy.
Yes, time heals wounds. It certainly does. But I still miss my Daddy. I miss his bear hugs. I still wish he could see my daughter. I still think I see his silly evil grin in her face. And I still think he'd get a kick out of it all.
I miss you Dad.