20 Years

Yesterday is always one of my least favorite days of the year, and this year it was especially difficult.  You see, September 14th 1992 my father died in a plane crash and yesterday marked 20 yrs since that dreadful day.

I would like to think that after so many years, the day just flows by like any other day.  While it has gotten easier in some respects, it is still very difficult in others.  The adage “time heals all wounds” may be true in certain aspects of life, but try telling that to a person who tragically lost a loved one unexpectedly.  I know that thousands lose love ones every day and in no way am I writing this to invoke any sympathy.  I write this as a form of therapy.  This is my release and if you’ve lost a loved one like I and my family has then you understand whole-heartedly where I am coming from.

Yesterday, I just had an odd sense of self.  The weather was eerily similar to that fateful day 20 yrs ago.  It was strange though, I woke up at 2am not realizing what day it was.  With the hours I work, many days just blend together and at that time of day I’m more robotic than human.  The wave of emotion finally hit me when I finally saw the date 9-14 in bold red numbers.  The rest of the day was spent trying to stay busy and pushing back my thoughts but they just kept pushing through.  I felt a good way to honor my father was to post pictures of some of his favorite things my Facebook timeline.  A shot of a ’69 maroon Jag XKE (his fave car), a Lear 35 (the plane he flew as his “job”), a Citabria (his private plane, his passion and ultimately what killed him) and a margarita (his favorite drink).  This was who he was: he loved his family, he loved his job, he was passionate about flying and the man knew who to relax.

I spent the rest of the day thinking where the past 20 yrs have led me. I go from being pissed off at him for not being here to see the man I’ve become. Pissed that he never met Nikki or his granddaughter. Never saw me graduate or seen me find success in a job i love. Then I start to think would I be a different person if he never died? what would I be? Where would I be?  Did his death ultimately lead me to become who I am now?  Then I remember the struggles that my mom, brother and I went through in order to survive and I feel the anger come back.  That’s hat yesterday was like.  That’s what I go through every year on that day and I suspect my mom and brother felt the same way along with the countless people who have lost loved ones.

You see, you never forget and it does get easier but it’s never easy.  I don’t think I ever want it to be easy.  I believe once the day becomes easy to get through, the memory is gone and I don’t want to forget him.  I want my daughter to understand who he was and what he was.  I think she needs to understand what her lineage is and he’s an important part of it.

On my way home from work, I stopped by the airport where he had his accident and just sat there, reflecting.  I’m not a spiritual person, but I felt him there.  I sat there and remembered all the good times we had.  I looked back on these past 20 yrs and I know he’d be proud of me and what I’ve done.  He’d love my wife and he’d adore Avery.  He’d be proud of Cam and he’d be happy my Mom found happiness.

There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think of my father.  I hope that continues for as long as I live because as long as someone still exists in your thoughts, they never leave you.  I’m sure in a year from know these same thoughts will come flooding back but that’s a good thing I’ve realized.  It makes me appreciate where I have been and excited about where I may go.  It reminds me to look at my daughter and see the pure joy of life that she has and that my father still lives on in our mind.

I miss you everyday Pop.  I am who I am in part because of what happened and in part because of the woman you married.  She is a strong woman and continues to raise to outstanding sons.  You did good Pop and I promise that we’ll continue to make you proud.

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3 Responses to “20 Years”

  1. He lives on in the men you and your brother have become and, now, in Avery. You all make life worth living. Love you, Mom.

  2. Madelene Francese Says:

    Jason your words were so accurate. I lost my dad suddenly on Labor now 35 years ago. The details of the day never fade, the anger you feel about what they missed and you missed fade in and out depending on the day, but the love you feel will always stay strong and that is what keeps that person here…grounded to your current life. No time doesn’t heal all wounds; it just make them sting a bit less. Your dad would have more than proud of you and the choices you have made.

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