We don’t always understand all the places we are connected to our most vital relationships. It can be a long and often painful process of discovery on the journey through The Sadness.
Letter to my siblings:
August 28, 2012
It’s been a year since dad died, and I still discover new ways that I miss him. I never really understood the amount of strength I drew from that relationship, and the varying ways that expressed itself.
I was just doing a nasty bit of car repair. I had a leak in the inlet pipe to the water pump. Unfortunately, on this particular engine, you have to pull the intake manifold to get to the pipe. That necessitates the removal of multiple components just to get down to the manifold. I didn’t want to do it. It was a big job. It was a tough job (for a simple shade tree mechanic). I need to talk to dad about it – wait … that’s not an option.
I searched the forums. I talked to two professional mechanics. I didn’t like what I heard, but the job had to be done. I found a potential short-cut where the inlet pipe could be slid out from under the manifold without having to remove the intake. That was the answer!
I started the process with new hope – only to have that hope crushed and the second state in which I found myself was worse than the first. It was impossible. The job was too big. It was out of my range. I had invested $60 in parts and 4 hours in labor and had accomplished nothing. The car was still undriveable. Situation hopeless. I need to talk to dad about this – oh … yeah … that’s not going to work. The old familiar “Sadness” crept back in.
If dad was around, I would have called him. We would have talked through what the book said, what the forums said and what the mechanics said. We would have talked about the potential problems, the most obvious areas likely to fail and what the most disastrous outcome would be. Then he would have said good luck and told me to call him when it was finished. And I would have gone and done it – whatever it takes.
So, I went and did it. It was hard. There were unforeseen difficulties (who knew I would have to remove the ignition module to get to the bolt in the rear center of the manifold). I had to go buy the manifold gasket (twice – the dog ate the first one (I would have loved to tell dad that story)). I put it together. It worked. The first time. No issues. I need to tell dad about it …
I never realized how much of my self confidence was based in my dad’s faith in me. Those phone calls weren’t just to pick his brain, they were to bolster my assurance. Most of his knowledge and experience I was able to reproduce with a little internet research, but his confidence in me … Exactly the kind of realization I would normally call dad to discuss – oh … yeah … not happening …
Every day a new realization. Every realization a new reminder that he is not there. Man, I miss him.