It’s 4 years today since I got the call at work from my mother that my father passed away. My memory sucks in general, but the events of that day are still as vivid as anything I’ve ever experienced.
During the surprisingly depressing task of getting my father’s truck from the dialysis clinic at which he died, I discovered what an amazing ‘time capsule’ a car is for a person’s final moments in their life. What had they eaten or drank? What list of errands did they have? What CD were they listening to?
Given the sheer amount of time my dad spent in his truck, and the fact that we all associated him so closely with it, his ‘time capsule’ was even more central to who he was. No matter what year it was, you would always find some combination of the following things:
- muddy workboots
- hard hat covered in stickers
- giant map books
- rubbermaid bins full of mining/construction parts
- some form of a rats nest of ‘cutting edge’ electronics (radar detector, cell phone cords, GPS, CB, XM radio before it was built in, power inverter, etc)
- glove compartment full of things like a wallet, a day planner, and a ‘pocket constitution and bill of rights’
- his briefcase
- blue listerine
- a bar across the back with his hanging clothes on it
- various CDs that had no rhyme or reason – Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Martina McBride, Fleetwood Mac, the Michael (movie) soundtrack…
After his cancer diagnosis, the song “Trip Around the Sun” by Jimmy Buffett really seemed to resonate with him for obvious reasons. “License To Chill” was the one CD that always seemed to be playing if you ever borrowed his truck, and picking it up from dialysis that day was no exception.
Today marks 4 long ‘trips around the sun’ since I lost the most important guiding figure in my life, and I miss him and his influence dearly. While these past 4 years have without a doubt been the absolute hardest of my life – they have also provided many wonderful things which I am eternally grateful for.
I now listen to this CD every day when I commute. It helps me to keep things in perspective and be grateful for everything that I have in my life – especially the many more trips around the sun that I get to enjoy with the wonderful gifts (my family) that he helped to provide.