Summer 2017 – The Front Porch on Monitor Lane
I woke up this morning after a fitful night of sleep and strange dreams, and realized that I was missing my dad. This is nothing new, but after a year and a half, it isn’t a constant feeling like it had been in the early days after he died. It is a feeling that is stored in the back of my mind, but the forefront of my heart, and the emotions that come along with it is managed now. I can speak of my dad, and trot down memory lane without becoming a teary mess, and I can laugh and remember all the great times, and it’s just that. A memory and a story, and a verbal tribute to the first boy I loved, my dad.
This summer has been one of change for all of the Reilly’s. Mom selling the house and moving was very disruptive in our grief journey. I no longer sit on the couch and look at his empty chair, linger in his office and imagine all the hours he sat looking out the window, or open his dresser drawers and feel the soft cotton of his undershirts, and try and inhale any remaining smell of aftershave.
Most of all we had to give up the front porch – HIS front porch. Dad was a constant figure in the neighborhood on the porch. He would wait for us the arrive from NJ. We would come around the bend on Monitor Lane, and we could see his crossed legs and white sneakers in his chair. There would be a pile of reading next to him, catalogs, magazines, a book, and definitely a highlighter. There would be fresh flowers on the table, and he’d jump up and be attacked with hugs from the kids. He’d ask; “What’d you bring me???” and wait for the bakery box or whatever surprise I would have, and we’d go inside and begin our visit with Mom and Dad.
In the afternoons, we would take our coffee and bakery treat to the front porch, and as unofficial Mayor of the block, Pop would greet and talk to everyone who passed by. The front porch and my dad went together, it was his place. Our talks and conversations and endless life lessons continued on the porch until he was no longer able to make it out there. When my mom sold the house, this was the hardest place for me to let go of.
Mom sold the house to a great family, and I hope they know the importance of that front porch. The saying; “If walls could talk” is so true when it comes to that 12×3 area. Secrets, dreams, hopes and aspirations, even a few disagreements were discussed. It was just our place.
So the grief journey continues — it is getting easier, but when a memory is triggered, the ache comes to the surface. What is a constant, is how lucky I was to be his daughter. To have been the recipient of a lifetime of these memories. It has moulded me, defined me, and made me who I am. I am a Reilly girl.