Tomorrow marks twenty years since my father's death.
My mother is visiting this week for the first time since 2010 and we have been planning a mini celebration, if you will, for his death-day. (We are never morbid, we McNeils! We just happen to sometimes feel like we have to make light about death.)
Later this afternoon Mom is meeting our Bill for coffee, and tomorrow our Jill is going to come up for dinner. It will be a simple meal filled with some of his favorite things: garlic & tomato pasta, a green salad, a bottle of good red wine, an apple pie. Perhaps Evan will bake a crusty loaf of rosemary foccacia with which to sop up the garlic & tomato sauce. Perhaps I will once again buy a pint of malted milk ball ice cream, or maybe just a bag of Whoppers.
Evan and Mom and I were sitting around the table the other night planning out this April 18th dinner and Mom suddenly paused and said, "Is this silly?"
It is silly. But it is also nice.
Sometimes, when I am supposedly meditating, I am composing letters to my father instead: Dear Dad. It has been almost twenty years, and I am no longer the sixteen-year-old girl you once knew. This no longer makes me cry, at least not often, and I am grateful for this dinner tomorrow, for these people that I love so very much and these foods that still taste so very good. Thank you. I love you. Your Emma.