#SOL20: 5,844 days

I’ve been on a math kick for a few months.  I blame it on my work with quilting projects.  Mathing is important! Math plays a huge role in design, implementation, and binding a project.

It’s been 5,844 days

and I still miss him.

It’s also been 16 years if you are wondering about the significance of the number. So now for more than half of his life my son has not known his grandfather.  The man with whom he shares his dimples. Army man. Family man.

It’s been 5,844 days

and some memories are still tough

even after 5,844 days.

… Going to the funeral home with Mom and my brother to finalize arrangements. (Was there texting then? What were our dinosaur phones like?) I was praying that my younger sister would make it out of Hurricane Alley and get to Iowa for the funeral because she’s the “glue” among the siblings. Flights were cancelled. Her husband drove her and the baby four hours north in order to catch a flight home. Easy tasks included physically reading and proofing the funeral folder and making changes via a landline phone call because tech wasn’t quite a part of our lives yet.

… Taking his pacemaker from the funeral home to the county hospital . . . that action wasn’t so tough. But saying to the hospital receptionist, “This is the pacemaker that was in my dad. We were told that we needed to turn it in here.” That was tough.

… Being the lector at the funeral Mass. Looking out at the family was easy. A packed church over Labor Day weekend was a sign of respect for Dad. Reading through the tears that choked my words was tough.  I had choice in the verses and I deliberately chose short ones.

… My nephew, the band director, playing at the church and Taps at the cemetery. Finding his own group, rehearsing, and playing for the family. Tenacity. What a tough task we asked of him.

— My great nephew, days old, who kept us sane. “Pass the baby” is an escape from tasks one does not want to accept, a reminder of our own mortality, and an opportunity for a big family to celebrate. To celebrate the second great grandchild. The baby who screamed every time his diaper was changed. He was not happy with air on his bottom! The baby that the OB/Gyn said was going to be a girl. The baby that kept us sane!

5,844 days of missing him.

And yet,

5,846 days ago, my great nephew was born and two days later Dad was gone. The ultimate alpha and omega. So many changes since then. Many celebrations.  Some sorrows. Many days.

Many memories that run the gamut from one weekend in our lives.

What will be the memories that will linger in your mind from 2020?

How will you celebrate the happy times?

Where will you share your memories?

What will your writerly life reflect?




Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

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14 responses

  1. I always love the way you so often leave us, readers, with some questions to ponder. What a beautiful collection of memories of your dada and for your dad.

    1. Erika, So easy to think about the “ties that bind us” and how we remember and connect ideas! (I was still in search of a topic . . . and my wandering took me there.)

  2. I feel your piece is so powerful because of its structure. Seeing that big number over and over again. Reading about the easy and then the hard in each paragraph. That juxaposition got me and caused this reader’s tears to flow. The whole piece shows so much about your love for your dad and the lovely family he created and sadly left too soon. The image of returning the pacemaker back to the hospital…oof. That really got me. Thanks for sharing such a lovely piece in honor of your dad.

    1. Time . . . does it always help? It is so critical to hold onto memories, good and bad. Not to ignore the current events in life but maybe to better understand the points in time that did impact us and figure out the little things that helped us cope! Your comments are so appreciated!

  3. Fran, that was so beautiful. And I truly understand all of the sentiments you expressed. ❤️

    1. Thanks, Kitty. So many emotions!

  4. My grandfather passed away in 1980 and he is still a part of me. My father passed away in 2016. I feel as long as we remember our close ones, they are alive. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. There will be many memories of this year, how everything changed all over the world, and not in some parts only. In spite of all the troubles, I will always remember people who came out of their comfort zones to help those in need. Slice of Life is helping me to share my days and memories with blogger friends. Take care and regards.

    1. Yes, our memories keep them alive!

  5. As long as we remember people they stay alive. Time eases but not erases. It is amazing how a single date or event can trigger a memory.

    1. Wow. ” Time eases but not erases.” So true!!!

  6. Oh, the pacemaker. The imagery and metaphorical significance of that moment is crushing, evoking so much raw emotion. Thank you for sharing such a personal and beautiful tribute to your father and family.

    1. Amy,
      Even as I was finished with my vignettes, I was still in search of my topic!

  7. Oh Fran, this is a heartbreaker of a post. So full of emotion that’s hard to handle. The pacemaker…my father has one. How “pass the baby” helped everyone cope. Tears.

    1. Margaret, So many emotions. So many memories of that Labor Day weekend.

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