I’ve known today was coming for twenty-two years. For most of those years, though, it was vaguer than that; for most of those years, I’ve known this this day was coming at some point in early September 2009. It must’ve been about seven or eight years ago that I worked out the actual date. I remember doing it, too: sat in a bus shelter near Treptower Park at night, waiting for the bus home, and I got my notebook out and started adding. A couple of months ago, I checked on one of those Web sites that tells you how many days are between two dates.
14,231 days. That’s how long I’ve been alive as of today, Monday the 6th of September.
My father died on Sunday the 19th of July, 1987. He was 14,231 days old. Today, I’m the exact same age my father was when he died. Tomorrow I will have lived longer than he did.
I’m not entirely sure why it has felt like this, but this day has been a black cloud over me for the past couple of months, ever since I got back to Berlin. It’s something I’ve thought about every day. It’s affected my mood. Even when I’ve been kinda relaxed, there’s been a nagging there, and I’m pretty sure it’s twenty-two years worth of hoping that I will live longer than my father. And what goes with that hope, is the thought that I wouldn’t. The last couple of weeks have been stressful. I’ve spent a lot of that time feeling close to the end of my tether.
Mostly, though, it’s made me think about my dad on a far more regular basis than I have done in a while. I hate that I normally wouldn’t think about him every day. I guess it’s probably about ten, twelve, fifteen, maybe even twenty years since I’ve thought about him every day. It’s horrible not to think about him. But it’s still fucking hard to think about him. It’s not as raw as it was back then, but it still hurts. And it’s selfish, too. A lot of that feeling is about twenty-two years of stuff I wanna talk to him about. Twenty-two years of “Do you like my new drawing, Dad?”
Our lives have been very different. When my dad was my age, he had a sixteen-year-old son and a fourteen-year-old daughter, a wife, a mortgage, and was working hard providing for his family. I’ve got a ten-year-old Web site, a couple of books, and some stories about drinking ayahuasca in a Brazilian forest.
I was determined that I’d never blog about my Dad. They’re my feelings. No offence intended to you, the reader, but blogging about this… I worry that it cheapens it a touch. But I felt like doing it when I woke up this morning. Tomorrow, when (if…) I wake up, I’ll do so without a feeling I’ve had for all these years. I will wake up without that black cloud. And with the realisation that I’ve done it: I’ve lived longer than my dad. And I hope that with that knowledge, there’ll be some sort of, I dunno… feeling that life is special. At the moment, I don’t wake up thinking that every day is a gift. Maybe now I will.