It’s been 3 years, 2 months and 56 days since Pops left us.
Or one thousand, one hundred and sixty-two days.
I can, for the most part, think about him and talk about him without ending up a sobbing pile on the ground, but it’s still difficult.
There are days I desperately want to share something with him and then it hits me that I can’t. (I still say it out loud anyway. Eish, what I’d give to hear his thoughts on Marmalade Mussolini).
I had a pleasant memory of him the other day, precisely when I needed it. I was tired, had just got back from work, was fed up and in no mood to adult AT ALL.
I flopped on the couch, and for some unknown reason I remembered one of the many church services we attended as a family during Christmas.
My family knows how I dread those interminable services, and I have tried every trick in the book to dodge them. To no avail.
Me: I’m not feeling well. Ma: Come we pray for you.
Me: Let me stay behind and cook lunch. Ma: It’s almost all done, we’ll finish when we get back from church.
Me: I’m too hungover. Ma: Serves you right. You thought you were drinking water?! Msscheeew. Get in the car.
My Mum just cannot be thwarted. She even tells the reverend in August that I’m going to perform in church on Christmas Day so I can’t get out of it. Anyway, I digress.
On this particular day, there we were, the six of us in the usual pew. I sat next to Dad and away from Ma, who has this quick-slap thing she does if she catches me on my phone and I’m within reach. Pa would dispense The Side Eye of Fatherly Disapproval of course but gwe, a slap on the back of the wrist hurts a lot more.
Time for the usual auction, one of the most mind-numbingly boring parts of the service. At this point I am usually losing the will to live and have gone past the point of hunger, but on this day the auction was particularly entertaining.
Someone had brought a chicken to be auctioned. Please note, this is not what was funny. First of all, the poor bird didn’t seem to realize it was in The House of the Lord and decided to crap everywhere. And then at some point, some hapless member of the congregation, on his way up to give his own auction offering of 3 rather bereft-looking avocados, STEPPED on said chicken, which only made the poor thing shit itself even more.
What really made me laugh was the fact that Dad, usually suitably solemn in church, was cracking up. Ok, not throw-your-head-back-and-slap-your-thigh cracking up (we’d all do that later around the Christmas tree), but shaking, with tears running down both cheeks, at the Comedy of Errors this bloody auction had turned out to be.
Now, I’m not a quiet laugher at the best of times, and once I start crying, then Kaine’s going to kick off, then Bain and Asiimwe then before you know it we’re all on the floor. So our pew was a bit of a mess. All six of us, doubled over, laughing and not being able to stop.
These are the memories that improve my crappy days.
Ma, Kaine, Asiimwe, Baingana and I have been able to laugh again. And we do. We laugh about stuff that happens now, stuff that happened then. Stuff that used to make Pa laugh and stuff that we know would have him cracking up with that unmistakable guffaw of his. Eish, how I miss it.
I guess all I’m saying is, store those moments. Keep those moments of hilarity and mirth or whatever you want to call them. Because there are days you’ll need them to pick you up after a naff day.
I miss you Pops.