Tuesday, Halloween, would have been my Dad's 95th birthday and no matter what I did yesterday there seemed to be these intermittent reminders of just how much I miss him. I know I'm not alone in missing somebody special in my life, but when a loved one was born on a holiday like Halloween, the reminders become very bizarre and funny.
- We bought our Halloween candy yesterday. Two things always hit me - first, Dad was in the wholesale candy business, and I had access to virtually every type of candy available, even fund-raising products like "Turtles" and "Ribbon Candy." Walking through his small warehouse, I could find the Almond Joys by the smell alone. Second, when we were kids, Dad never got a decent birthday dinner unless my mother fed us all at 4:00 in the afternoon. By 5:00 we were chomping at the bit to go out trick or treating and by 6:00 our doorbell was ringing with kids in the neighborhood.
- Then there are flashback moments like the Halloween party in my parent's building in 2012. Dad didn't want to go because he couldn't come up with a costume, and my mother's Alzheimer's was in full swing. So we got creative, and my apron of Michelangelo's David became the perfect prop. We added a wig, and that's all it took, Dad was into it! We won the prize for best family costumes. Even Mom loved it with cat ears and a matching tail hanging out behind her wheelchair.
- Wandering through some twenty year old files in Shutterfly, I ran across shot after shot of Dad and I having one of our legendary towel fights. You would have thought we were both back in college! The laughter eventually took our breath away as we chased each other all over the kitchen. My mother would be screaming in the background, "Ralph don't hurt him," always followed by, "Skip, don't hurt your father!"
We're in the memory business, and everyday photographs help people relive moments from the past. When those memories and moments are special, don't fight them. Grab onto them and squeeze them for every drop of emotion they bring out. I miss my folks a lot, but it's those memories and photographs that are indeed the gifts that keep on giving!
Wishing everybody an outstanding Sunday and time with great friends and family who make your life better. And, if there are moments where memories of a loved one who's no longer with you, jump in, take the time to appreciate them. Then enjoy that moment where you can cherish the time they were in your life.