Stylin’ & Profilin’….

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….that’s how my dad would refer to himself when he thought he looked good.  And we heard it a lot.  Because dad always looked good.

Today marks the anniversary of his passing.  It’s been 6 years, and while each anniversary gets a little bit easier, it doesn’t change the fact that there’s a spot in my heart that will always be just a little bit damaged from losing the first man I ever loved.  We didn’t have a perfect relationship, and it wasn’t always easy, but if I’ve learned anything in the time since he’s been gone, it’s that our relationship was always worthwhile.

After my dad passed away, my best friend, my sister and I were to clear out some of his things.  We found 4 pages of songs that he wanted played at his funeral.  If he would have had it his way, we probably would have had a music festival in his honor.  Well, we didn’t have that kind of time or that much money.  We did manage to find a slightly more cost-effective way to honor his memory; we took songs from that list as well as songs chosen by me, my sister and his best friend and created a compilation CD.  We then handed one out to each person in attendance at his memorial service.  It may not have been all of the songs he chose, but he hasn’t chosen to haunt me or my sister for our song choices or lack of a music festival, so I’m gonna go ahead and take that as Dad’s stamp of approval.

Both my parents loved music, so my sister and I grew up in a household where at least one stereo was playing at all times.  In fact our downstairs stereo was Dad’s piece de resistance.  He’d proudly show off his Klipsch stereo system anytime he had guests over.  There were many a night where my sister and I would be jarred awake from a deep sleep because our dad had to show his friends how great his speakers sounded at close to full blast.  Mom would tell him to keep it down and he’d promptly ignore her.  You see, my mom and dad both loved music but went about it quite differently.  Mom had her favorites that she would listen to on a regular rotation.  She’d listen to it, appreciate it and then file it away before it got annoying.  Not my dad.  He had a way of playing songs so frequently (overplayed was not a word in his vocabulary) that you would get to a point where you would rather to stab your eardrums than hear that fucking Crash Test Dummies song one more time.

But for him, it wasn’t just about the lyrics, or even the melody.  It was about the layers and the composition.  His dream had always been to be a sound engineer and while it was a dream that was never fully realized, he had a way of making sure he shared his love and knowledge with us.  Any time we got a new car, it wasn’t ready to drive until Dad had tuned the stereo.  And if you fucked with any of the dials, he would know the next time he got into that car.  The guy had an ear unlike anyone I’ve ever known.  While I’d like to think that some of this may have rubbed off on me.  Those nearest and dearest to me know that I can pick up a baseline in the middle of crowded bar and tell you what song is playing, no matter how much background noise is going on around me.  It’s a super power, really;  one of many fine qualities that I inherited from my dad.

I put together a Spotify playlist to honor my Dad and am adding to it, as I hear things that remind me of him.  It’s a playlist that my sister and I listen to whenever we need to feel his presence; because we know that’s how he lives on through each of us.  I’ve chosen to share it with you today and I invite any of you who knew our dad to share a song that reminds you of him.  We’ll make sure to add it to the rotation!

Stylin’ & Profilin’ – Songs for Dad

My sister and I will spend this anniversary together, as that has become our yearly practice.  We’ll make a Dad inspired meal, listen to Dad inspired music and share stories.  And while we might not choose to toast him with his drink of choice (because Bacardi Cokes are disgusting), I’m sure we’ll find a suitable substitution.

So cheers to you, Dad.  I can’t wait to see you again.

 

Dad’s 60th Birthday

Today would have been my dad’s 60th birthday.  If heaven exists and marijuana is legal, I have no doubt that he’s celebrating by talking music and sharing a joint with one of his favorite artists and one of heaven’s newest arrivals, Tom Petty.

When I found out that Tom Petty had been removed from life support on Monday, I was an inconsolable mess.  Yes, I’m sure some of that pain can be attributed to our IVF failure, but a large part was due to my love for Tom Petty.  I grew up on his music. My dad was the kind of person that would play a record to death so I’ve probably heard “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” more times than anyone else in this world, save for The Heartbreakers.  And yet, despite the repetition, I’ve never tired of Tom Petty, as a solo artist, part of the Heartbreakers or part of the Travelling Wilburys.  Since my dad passed away in 2011, I’ve made sure to see Tom Petty in concert every time he’s come to the Twin Cities area.  It’s always an emotional experience for me-seeing him live brings me a step closer to my dad, if only for a few hours.  I won’t ever get to experience that again.  Losing Tom Petty felt like losing a little piece of my dad all over again.

Even though my dad has been gone for almost 6 years, it doesn’t seem to get easier.  Every milestone that he misses, every success, every failure, brings his loss back to the forefront of my mind.

My dad would have wanted to be so involved in our fertility journey, probably to the point where I would have to tell him to reign it in a little.  When he got sick, his mobility became limited.  Being a homebody and having so much time on his hands made him an internet search guru.  I don’t doubt that he would have become an expert at infertility.  My sister and I like to imagine what it would be like, and our conversations normally end in a fit of laughter.  There’s just something about envisioning our dad asking about endometrial lining that proves to be a little too much for us.  But yet, despite how embarrassing and personal his questions would seem, we know that they would be asked with the best of intentions.  He would want this baby so desperately for us, that I know he would do whatever was in his power to help us be successful.

When my dad went to his doctor’s appointments, they always asked him what it was he was living for, what he was working toward.  His response never wavered:  his goal was to walk his daughters down the aisle and to be able to hold his grandbabies.  He didn’t live to accomplish either and that makes me really fucking sad.

That’s not to say that he didn’t try.  He fought a good fight, but lung disease is a sonofabitch.  While I’m still so very sad that he’s gone, I’m happy to know he’s longer suffering.

Today will be a day of reflection, thinking about my dad and finding ways to celebrate him.  His copy of Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits is already loaded up in my car.  My sister and I will have a cocktail this afternoon in his honor.  We’ve tried this before with his drink of choice, but it turns out that Bacardi is terrible, so I imagine we’ll have to make an exception there.  And finally, I plan to eat some cake.  After all, what birthday celebration is truly complete without cake?

Happy Birthday, Dad.  This world just isn’t the same without you.

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