My dad died five years ago today.
Actually, this probably isn't the fifth anniversary of his death, because he died the day after Thanksgiving and the date changes.
But, to me, it will always be the day after Thanksgiving. Which is appropriate, because he loved being in charge of the turkey - basting it in butter and booze, with cornbread crumbs and bits of rosemary flying all over the kitchen.
Last night, we told stories - of how he got bitten by the rattlesnake and was a bit of a medical celebrity. How my aunt came to visit him in the hospital with a tin of rattlesnake meat. How we once ate Thanksgiving dinner at midnight because he didn't start put the turkey in until noon.
A few weeks ago, I was walking through the living room and thought I saw my boyfriend standing by the record player. When I turned my head to say something, there was no one there. Then I got the strong sense that it was Dad, poring over my boyfriend's record collection - just there to say hi.
Five years feels significant. It's a long time. I've changed a lot. We all have - because, let's face it, it's been a hell of a five years.
While no one ever wants to lose a parent, I do think of it as the event that cracked me open so I could see what was inside. When everything I'd been bottling up for most of my life came tumbling out, I got a chance to know myself better. Maybe for the first time.
I think that's what we're given in all these experiences - the opportunity to know ourselves better. When life hands us the nutcracker and gives it a firm tap, our shell shatters, showing us what's in there.
One of the last things my brother said to him was, "I'm excited for you, Dad. You're about to go on an adventure."
Hope it's been a fun adventure, Dad. We miss you.