I write the same thing every year, but I have to. July 17 will always be a bittersweet day for me. Today would have been my dad’s 66th birthday. Instead of mentioning how many years its been, now its just he died in 1993. As I was getting Allie ready for bed tonight it dawned on me, on July 31 it will be 19 years. Next year will be 20. Wow.
My dad is not usually too far from my mind. At least since I got married and had Allie. I wish he was here to see her and Doug and share in our lives. I know he’s looking down on us though and he’s proud of me and all his kids.
But he’s always on it in June and July between Father’s Day, his birthday on July 17 and the day he died, July 31. Aside from the draught, I just hate the month of July. I can’t remember the last time I went to his grave. It might have been last summer or the one before. Actually I think it was last year. I always have to get directions to the cemetery from my mom. Its way south of Rockford and there’s been construction down that way the last few years. When we finally found the entrance to the cemetery, I found the statue I remembered was in the vicinity and we parked. I thought the grave was on one side of the statue, and we spent at least a half hour or more looking for it. Doug and Allie helped and I was almost in tears because I felt terrible I couldn’t find my father’s grave. Doug finally found it right where I thought it would be… but on the other side of the statue. I’m sure if I go there again whether its this year or next, I’ll have to look all over again.
I think I’ve had similar events every time I’ve visited his grave. One time Doug and I drove down there and on the way it started storming and then there ended up being a tornado. I think we’d gotten out of the car to actually try and find the grave in the pouring rain (at least I got out of the car) and I finally decided it was hopeless. Then we heard on the radio about a tornado warning. The cemetery is in the middle of nowhere. We finally found a McDonald’s somewhere to hide out for the storm. We decided not to go back that day.
The sweet part of the day is it was this day six years ago that Doug proposed. He remembered the day is special to me and added another special event to the day. I knew he was going to propose but he did surprise me with the details. I don’t remember what he said (well, I know it was a variation of “will you marry me?) and I don’t remember what I said. But I remember crying and being surprised to find out the ring was right next to me in the car the whole night in the glove box. Oh, and of course saying “Yes!” That night we saw Pirates of the Caribbean and I hated that it. I don’t remember which one was out in 2006, but I hated them all. I always have to live with the memory that I saw a movie I hated the night I got engaged.
And very cool but totally random, today is also Monk’s birthday. She’s 7 today! We got Monk when she was 6 weeks old from a friend who was watching another friend’s dogs. One had babies and she needed to get rid of them and convinced us to take one. It was later I found out her birthday was July 17. It was meant to be!
I think I’m more reflective today as there was a trip down memory lane via Facebook. My Aunt Sue wrote about Dad letting her drive his Mustang. Most of the memories were from well before, or maybe just before I was born. It was cool hearing all of this stuff that I never knew about my dad. I was 12 when he died. I like to think I remember, but I don’t. At least not as much as I feel I should. Every once in awhile one of my younger siblings will ask me about him and I can tell them some things, but they’re fuzzy. I guess I never really thought about asking people who are older than me what they can tell me.
So if you’re reading this and have a memory of Dennis Danielewicz, please share.