Wednesday, October 2, 2013

78 Candles

My father’s birthday is today.  Wendell Wilson would have been 78 years old.  He died 25 years ago at the age of 53.  The fact is that he made his emotional departure many years, if not decades, before his physiological one.  I’ll spare you the details about his choices and his demise.  Those were documented a couple of years ago here.

Ironically, my mother's birthdays still invoke genuine sadness when I think about who and what she was to so many people.  It's different with my father and honestly, I feel somewhat guilty for not feeling sad.  Truth is, the only sadness I feel is that he never experienced being a grandparent, even though he was one for a short time.  My boys were two and five when he died and neither of them can recall anything about him.  They are fortunate to have had two other grandfather role models in their lives, one of whom is still with us.

I doubt my father ever thought much about his own birthday given that he was never around for those of his family.  My sister and I were both born in November during deer hunting season and after all, a man's gotta have his priorities.  The photo below is the last one I know of him.  I look at it and marvel at how old and feeble he looked at only 52 years old.  I'll be 52 in thirteen months and you can be damn sure I won't look like I'm 78.

c. March, 1988