Today would have been my father's secular birthday.
Some might find it morbid that I still mentally celebrate his birthday, as bittersweet a celebration as it is. My dear husband and his father may be anti-Pesach cakes, since they look identical to year-round cakes, but somehow he managed to bring home some Pesadik cookies that passed muster, as well as my favourite chocolate (dark, pareve). So I made a little imaginary salute to my Dad as I consumed the goodies.
What else can I say? It is still very hard to accept that my father is only here in spirit, although I find comfort in the fact that I look like him. The similarity in our features reminds me that I carry him with me. Sometimes though, Hashem throws me a bone, and I could swear that I can sense his physical presence. This past Sunday, I almost smelled him, if you can believe it. As crazy as it sounds, it is such moments that help me recognize that one day I will see my father again, along with my grandparents and other relatives who have passed on, when Mosiach comes.
I left the sedorim early this past weekend, leaving my father-in-law and husband behind after I said L'Shana HaBa, because I could not stand the thought of hearing the songs any way other than the way my Dad sang them. It was hard enough trying to retain the memory of how he conducted our sedorim in the midst of being at different families. So while not having the sedorim at home certainly helped me cope, since we were not making sedorim ourselves without him, it hurt regardless. Hopefully in the coming years I will be confident enough that the sedorim with my father are embedded sufficiently in my memory to survive the influence of new sedorim. Then, I will be able to turn them into a real celebration of his memory. In the meantime, I suppose I will just have to do the best that I can.
So Happy Birthday, Daddy. I miss you, and hope that my davening will be good enough to merit my seeing you again, in this world, really soon.