It rolls around again today as it does every year. Anniversaries have a way of doing that.
Some years it almost sneaks up on me and grabs me unaware. As if I could forget. As if I would forget if I could.
Other years, like this year, memories of the day enter my consciousness well in advance. I have to consult the calendar to verify the date.
The pain has lessened some over the years. The empty, heartache remains.
Forty-two years ago today, my father died. A private pilot, he and another administrator were flying to Harrisburg to advocate for funding for the local school system.
Though they had tickets on a commercial airline, they decided that my father would fly. The plane went down near Emlenton, Pennsylvania, the crash site only located the next day. When I arrived at JFK a day later, after a college choir trip to Europe, family members met me and broke the news and shattered my heart.
Because grief lasts, I raise a glass to remember loses and acknowledge pains. And because love never ends, I raise a glass to give thanks and to celebrate love shared past, present, and future. On this anniversary, I raise a glass to William Koenig, to his life, to the time, the far too short time, we shared. To music made well and badly. To tears and a multitude of remembered smiles. For some years there are tears, but always there are smiles.
Goodnight and joy be with you, Dad.
Goodnight and joy be with us all.
See you along the Trail.