A Little Bumpy Air is based on memories of my father written during Lent following his funeral, on Fat Tuesday 2013.
From the final moments:
Palm Sunday. When we moved to Toronto, one of the first outings we had was to the Science Centre. Daddy loved it as much as we kids did, and he walked through all the hands-on exhibits with us, explaining them and demonstrating beyond what the exhibits themselves had to teach us. We especially liked the space exhibits, models of the planets and the Milky Way Galaxy, and Daddy explained to me what a star was and how we’re all made of the same stuff – matter and energy – as the stars. The last time we spoke was on Daddy’s birthday, December 29th. We talked about a lot of things – especially Jimmy and Cesar, my little dogs out of whom I know Daddy would get a major kick. We talked about the Science Centre and how I learned about static electricity there, and there’s so much of it here in Tucson. Then he said, “If you’re in Tucson, you must have seen my family.” I changed the subject (not reminding him that his parents were long buried here and that all his siblings are gone) and asked what he’s doing for his birthday, and he said he didn’t know, but they were going downstairs pretty soon and would find out. I knew my brother Danny and his four kids were there and that they would all have some kind of celebration in my sister’s beautiful house and that her children would be there, and her grandchildren. I knew Daddy would be surrounded with love, and that made me feel happy, though I also felt deeply sad that I wasn’t there too. Life was full after the new year and I had so much going on – I reminded myself several times in the early mornings that I wanted to call and talk to my parents once it was late enough and they’d had their coffee. I forgot though, until it was night and they’d gone to sleep – I forgot each time, even on the 6th of February, when word came from Danny that our father had collapsed. Within minutes I learned that Daddy had died. It’s been forty days since his funeral, Lent is at its end, and spring is here.