On December 3, 2007, my dad turned 56. That evening he, my stepmom, a couple others, and I had dinner at their place. My stepmom was a wonderful cook, but I don't remember what we ate. I know that we had warm, enjoyable conversations, but I don't remember what any of them they were about. If I knew what I know now, I'd have made note of what had for dessert. I'd have catalogued everything we discussed, everything my dad said. I'd have chosen my own words deliberately and with great care. But I didn't know. I didn't know how busy I was going be during the next week, finishing up papers and projects at the end of my first semester of graduate school. I didn't know that after two years relatively fairly gradual changes, my dad's condition was about to decline rapidly. I didn't know that dinner would be the last meal we ever ate together. I didn't know that conversation would be the last we ever had.
Eight days later, and ten years ago today, my dad passed away.