When Irish Eyes are Smiling

In the lilt of Irish laughter, you can hear the angels sing.
It’s been twenty-two years since I’ve heard your laugh.

dadThe big one. The booming outrageous laugh. The one that started deep in your chest and ricocheted off the back of your tongue and seemed to ride every available sound wave, filling a space. That one. I miss it. Every now and then I think I hear it. Faint and lingering. Distant. Haunting.
It’s been two hundred and sixty-four months since I’ve heard your laugh.
Your silent laugh, when you laughed so hard no sound could escape. You would sit there, shaking and turning colors. Strangers thought you were in distress. Remember when they stopped “Shear Madness” because someone in the cast thought you were having a heart attack? We had to explain – because you couldn’t pull your shit together – that you were just thoroughly enjoying the show and to please continue.
It’s been one thousand one hundred and forty-eight weeks since I’ve heard your voice.
All of your voices. The loud and the soft. The happy and the sad. The merry and the mad. Mercurial I think would best describe you. Quick to anger, quick to laugh, quick to smile. I miss our phone calls and our walks. Our arguments and our jokes. I miss hearing you call me Blondie. And Charlie. I think we all miss that.
It’s been eight thousand and thirty-six days since I’ve heard your voice.
Well your whistle, really. I’ve not managed to find anyone else that can whistle like you. Birds envied you. Although I do remember you telling two of your grandsons that you learned to whistle in the war with South America so you could communicate with the birds that helped you be a spy. Seriously, one of your better attempts I must say and those two boys believed every single thing that came out of your mouth.
It’s been one hundred and ninety-two thousand eight hundred and forty hours since you left us.
I was telling someone about your funeral recently and how wonderful it was. I know that sounds weird but you would have loved it. At the wake, the funeral director had to ask people to leave so the folks waiting outside in the cold could come in and pay their respects. But that’s not the best part. The best part was at church the morning of your funeral. It was a beautiful sunny March day. Marie wanted to punch Jane in the face because she was being such a whiny bitch.
Mark gave the eulogy and it was fantastic. He closed by talking about how much you loved Toora, Loora, Loora and that he promised you that he’d make everyone sing it at your funeral. Well, he was as good as his word. At the end of the Mass, he started singing and it slowly built. Shaky, since most of us were crying. But by the time we hit the chorus the entire congregation was rocking as we walked behind you.
I was getting ready to say good-bye to John and Helen since they had only planned on coming to the church. As I was thanking them for coming, John stopped me and said, “This is the best funeral I’ve ever attended. We’re coming to the cemetery since I don’t want to miss what happens next. Helen, this is exactly what I want when I go.”
It was a fitting tribute. I’m never sad when I think about your funeral. I do remember the crushing grief as I sat in the pew but more than that, I remember the hope and the love and the joy of a life well-lived.
It’s been six hundred ninety-four million two hundred twenty-four seconds since you left us and there are days that I have felt every single one of them.

I miss you Dad.

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