Today I am wearing my Dad’s long black dress socks. I’ve worn this pair of socks off and on for nearly 30 years.
I first wore the socks when I was in high school. I needed a long pair of black dress socks, and I didn’t have time (or money) to go buy a pair. I asked my Dad if I could borrow a pair of his socks, and he said, “Yes.”
After that initial borrow, whenever I needed my Dad’s long black dress socks, I snagged ‘em. Sometimes my Dad would go to his sock drawer looking for this pair of socks, only to find I was borrowing the socks – again.
My Dad died 20 years ago. And, every time I reach for these socks, I think of my Dad. A simple pair of black dress socks keeps a memory of my Dad full of life for me.
Today I attended a funeral for a 44yr old man, who suddenly died earlier this week. Among others, he left behind his wife and two boys.
His boys attend my sons’ school. I am lucky enough to spend a few hours with these boys (ages 5 and 11) Monday – Friday in the Extended Day Program, which I run.
I was 25 years old when I lost my Dad, and I felt robbed. My best friend was 16 when she lost her Dad, and I know she felt robbed, too.
These kids – these two boys – they were hijacked.
I went to talk to the boys after the funeral. The 5yr old was ‘happily’ distracted by a game he was playing on an iPad, but the 11yr old wasn’t finding comfort in any gadgets. He was – is – old enough to understand. He is old enough to feel the pain. He is old enough to grasp the immense sense of loss. And sadly, he is young enough to have so many years without his Dad, as is his younger brother.
When I talked with the older boy, I told him I lost my Dad when I was young, too. And, I showed him my socks. I told him they were my Dad’s socks – at least 30yrs old -, and I told him I felt my Dad was with me whenever I wore these socks. He looked at me, smiled, and said, “Really?” And, I assured him it was true.
Now, I realize he was probably more humored by the fact that I was wearing a pair of socks that are 30yrs old vs. feeling a sense of comfort/peace from my sentiment, but he’ll get it.
And, from now on, when I wear these socks to school, I will show the socks to these two boys. Because, there is comfort in remembering. It doesn’t fill the void completely, but it is something. And, I hope I can provide a bit of comfort for these two guys by showing them I haven’t forgotten.
“Let our faith be our consolation and eternal life our hope.” Prayers of the People, The Book of Common Prayer