May 30th is my father’s birthday. Quite often his birthday falls on Memorial Day, which is both bittersweet and apropos. Although Beauregard lost his memory to Alzheimer’s, the man himself was unforgettable.
My family continues to struggle with grief, two years after Beau’s death. I find that it sneaks up on me. One minute I’m giddy, the next I’m sobbing. Mostly, I’m missing.
Today, I walked into Trader Joe’s where Hibiscus plants were on sale. I recalled a walk with my dad at his home in Naples, Florida, just as he was showing substantial cognitive decline, during which he repeatedly said “the Hibisci are in full bloom.”
I brought a particularly flourishing Hibisci back to my house, and placed it on the front porch with Buddha in honor of my dad’s birthday.
I looked at the complimentary pairing and thought about how Beau, a devout Christian, appreciated and respected the gamut of religions as much as he did all the flora and fauna of the world. He was a physician who believed in evolution AND divine intervention. He was an African tribal chief who drove a boat named for the Hindu God Garuda. He was a man who challenged minds and fixed them.
I miss his complexity.
I miss his powerful force in the universe.
I miss the way he said, “Gal, your ole dad sure loves you.”
But Beau is always with me. And because of him, I continue to bloom.