In 1972, my father—J. V. Gramlich—died on this date. Of a heart attack. I was 13. He was 58. He seemed old to me at the time but so much younger now. I had my own heart attack at 59 but survived. For nearly 30 years my thoughts turned automatically to him on this date. In many of those years I wrote a poem for him.
I realized this morning that I’d almost forgotten dad on this day. Only seeing a post on facebook about some celebrity who died on this date sparked my memory. And I realized that, for the last ten years, I have forgotten in many Aprils and have allowed the day to pass unremarked.
For a moment, a flash of pain swept through me. How could I ever forget? But I know how. I have so many more things to think about today. Work, of course. The semester is always busy at this time. But that’s the least of it.
I have my own son to think of. He works too hard and rests too little, and I see myself at his age in that. And I have a daughter-in-law who is a great mother to my two wonderful grandsons, Silas and Sully. And those boys! What wonderful, amazing, beautiful children.
And there’s Lana, who keeps our yard beautiful with flowers, and who is so smart that we can talk about anything in the world, and who makes the best spaghetti and meat sauce I’ve ever eaten, and who is just simply cute in every way.
I don’t forget my father. I still have his photo (with mom) up in my living room. But the day of his death no longer has the same power and same pull on me that it used to. There’s too much life going on around me to think very much of death.