My father died when he was 41 years old. Since I was sixteen I've said that 41 would be my "weird year." A few years ago I got a complete cardiac workup and the cardiologist said that though he could give no guarantees, my heart was fine and I would most likely live past 41. That day, as we drove away from the cardiologist's office, I began to cry and Michael said, "I don't understand. You received good news." I answered, "Knowing I will live longer than Dad is a good thing, but it also makes me sad."
But 41 has ended up being the best year--the year of our son's birth. I've never been happier or more content.
Yesterday afternoon I realized that last Wednesday was the day I lived longer than my father did. Yes, I cried when I realized that. Earlier in the day we visited Dad's grave. I know Dad isn't there and that I've talked to him (or, at least the idea of him) about Sebastian since my son was born, but I still wanted to "introduce" Sebastian to Dad. The moment was tender. Sebastian was craning his neck, like usual, wanting to take everything in around him, but when we stepped to Dad's grave, Sebastian turned around and calmly looked down, his gaze lingering.
I've missed Dad and cried more about his death this year than the last fifteen years combined. But the grief is not because I'm forty-one. I wish I could share this moment of being a father with him.