Saturday, October 22, 2016

A piece of time

Some years ago, in order to avoid long distance phone charges, I introduced my Mom and Dad to Yahoo Messenger.  It was an easy way to keep in touch with out the calls.  I could send pictures of the kids and easily ask a quick question or send a message that I was on my way, etc.

It dawned on me a few weeks ago that I had saved my Yahoo Messenger history.  It was two laptops ago, but I just knew I had the files somewhere.  I looked and looked, checking drive after drive.  I was beginning to think all was lost, until I stumbled upon some hidden files in a 'picture' folder of all places.  I tried installing an older version of Yahoo Messenger because newer versions do not support the old history.  No go.  I searched to see if there was something to unlock these files and ran across Yahoo Messenger Archive Decoder.  A download later and bit of copying and pasting, bingo.

There it was - a little over two years of daily back and forth conversations with my Dad.  Thousands of lines like a piece of him frozen in time.

It seems fitting today, the fifth anniversary of my Dad's death, to revisit those conversations.  Relive the moments when we used to chat every day about the kids, the weather, etc.   It's like I can "hear" him again.  As mundane as they are, they are treasures to me now.  His witty jokes are just as "funny" and I laughed through the hurt. Many jokes about Buddy (the dog) and lots of funnies from the kids.  I can just feel the memory of him sitting at the computer desk in the kitchen, typing away on the other side of the screen.  He's wearing a button down plaid shirt.  "Old man" flat front pants.  The shoes.  Definitely The Shoes.  And Buddy is whining at his feet.

The last messages are about his doctor's visit and blood work. Then came a Saturday and my Dad was feeling particularly tired.

melliemelo (10:44:01): how are you feeling today?
jack (10:57:38): Not good. Having trouble waking up so spending most of the time in bed.
melliemelo (10:59:04): do you want us to go over there today?
melliemelo (11:01:47): we'll go after i feed the kids. need me to bring anything? lunch?
jack (11:02:03): Guess not. Not anything you could do.
melliemelo (11:03:36): we can go for a little while & look after buddy if nothing else
jack (11:03:58): I've got some small frozen pezzas in the freezer and tv dinners. might eat one of those if I get hungry.
jack (11:04:13): OK.
melliemelo (11:36:59): almost ready. dont worry about the gate i'll open it when we get there

Then, nothing.  There were to be no more messages. The story of a life written via Yahoo Messenger ends with out an ending.  Just weeks later my Dad fell forever silent.

Thinking of you, Dad, today and always.

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