We lost our Papa in January. In the months that followed, I cocooned myself in his gold and brown sweatshirt, softness and scent comforts on cold winter nights. Colors of Capital High School Bruins, its frayed neck and sleeves evidence of the years Papa spent cheering for his grandchildren.
On his eighty-ninth birthday, Dad asked, “Do you think I’ll live to be a hundred?” His question earnest, we vowed to have a ninetieth birthday bash if he made it that long.
He didn’t. He died less than six weeks later, five days after breaking his hip. As we surrounded his hospital bed, I was reminded of a family gathering twelve years prior.
Please keep everyone healthy and safe had been my silent plea, Dad foremost in my mind as extended family bid Eric bon voyage. Not yet seventeen, he was headed to Argentina for a yearlong study abroad. I fought tears when Eric said goodbye to Papa, wondering if it would be the last time they would see each other.
Ten days ago, Eric received his MPA from UW’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. Gram with us to celebrate, I felt Papa’s presence, too. And when I saw the photo, I knew.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.