51

51

You’d be 51 today, brother.

I know how it would go: you’d wake up before dawn, watching your movies in your tiny room in the back. I’d knock on your door to let you know I was up too, you’d come out to the kitchen where I was on the floor, writing. We’d talk.

There in the cold darkness before dawn, we’d talk. Talk about our plans, what was really going on. The stuff we couldn’t tell other people. You’d tell me your dreams, and oh man! You had so many. In the end though, I think they all pointed to a few simple things: you wanted to take care of your family. You wanted your kids to know stability and financial well-being. You wanted to give them what Grandpa Jack gave mom.

I don’t think you knew how though, didn’t have the ability to sit with slow movement forward, with all of that consistent compounded interest stuff. You knew how to push forward with energy, charm and brute strength. You didn’t know other ways. And I think you were in too much pain to want to stop and figure it out.

We’d talk.

I think the decades of memories with you flow through with that, with talking. I remember driving around in Taiwan, whizzing by rice paddies and tiny villages in the rural east side, my feet usually propped up on the dashboard and feeling at total ease with the world. The wind was warm, your plans were huge, my dreams were big and everything was so bright and young.

I remember us walking miles in Berkeley, walking from Berkeley to Oakland and back, talking through all the things. Your marriage. Your kids. Where everything was going.

You were a part of almost every major memory of my life. When I found out my daughter was coming with Down syndrome, you drove down, we walked. You didn’t say anything; you didn’t know what to say and I knew you didn’t and I didn’t know either. And that was okay. I’d rather have understanding silence than bullshit trite responses.

Sometimes I think it’s wrong to miss you so much. Like, it’s wrapped up in selfishness – I miss you because I miss talking with you. I miss walking with you. I miss being understood so completely and effortlessly. I miss having you to depend on, to help me when life is really hard. I miss your partnership with me on Family Stuff; things with mom and dad, your kids and mine. I miss your dreams. I miss your dream interpretations.

Everything that I miss feels selfish because it’s always pointed to what you did for me. I wish I did more for you. Most of all, I wish I had been able to drive with you on one of your long California drives and talk through your trajectory and stuff in the last couple of years you were with us. I wonder if that would have made a difference.

So, 51.

You’d be 51 today.

You’d laugh and be too busy to do more than have a meal or cake with everyone. You’d love the love and appreciate it. You’d smile and hug and kiss your grandkids with so much delight, your kids too. You loved them all with your whole heart.

If the party went on much past 9, you’d be asleep, head back on the couch, deep in slumber. If someone woke you up, you’d smile a little, gather up your ipad and walk back to your little room. And I’d knock on your door in the darkness of the next morning, to talk.

I miss you, Dana.

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