dancing with dad at my bat mitzvah

Dancing with my dad at my Bat Mitzvah party

“Tell me something about your dad”, my heart whispered this morning. “Tell me something about his life, a sweet memory, and let it not be tainted by his suicide.”

And my mind answered,”But those moments are hard to find. It seems whenever I try to revisit those memories, his suicide, the way his life ended, inevitably comes crashing in.”

“Try anyway”, my heart answered back. “Do not let his death be all that defines him.”

Eyes closed

A deep breath.

Clearing away the pain.

Making room for something sweeter.

He loved to dance!

I mean, my father LOVED to dance. When I was younger, he and my mom would get dressed up in their disco gear and hit the dance floor on Saturday nights. I remember thinking that I had such cool parents. My mom in her spandex top & leather pants and my dad, looking so suave with his shirt unbuttoned, heading out to Uncle Sam’s disco. Date night was dance night for them.

mom and dad club night

My parents ready to hit the dance floor

But my dad didn’t have to wait for a club or an event to get his groove on. Our living room had a full wall of mirrors. And as part of my dad’s exercise routine, he would pop in an 8 track tape, put on his castanets and shirtless, with just his shorts on, he would dance. I can remember Peaches & Herb blaring through the stereo speakers singing, “Shake your groove thing, shake your groove thing yeah yeah. Show ’em how we do it y’all.” And without a partner, but with total & complete abandon, my father would just dance until he was dripping in sweat.

dad disco days

This is how I remember my dad dancing around the living room.

I don’t know if my father was ever more free, than when he was dancing. He didn’t hold back. The music enveloped him and he just radiated joy. For him, it was clear that dancing was a celebration of life, and on the dance floor, he gave it everything he had.

And he was happy. I can remember him happy. I can remember him free.

And my mind whispered to me, “Hold that memory today. Grasp it tight and don’t let go.”

And my heart whispered to me, “There is room for both the sorrow & the joy. Cleave to the joy today.”

My father loved to dance.

He knew joy. He knew celebration. He could and he did dance like no one was watching.

Today, with everything I’ve got, I hold fast to that memory of my dad.

My father loved to dance. And remembering that, makes me smile.

Let show the world we can dance
Bad enough to strut our stuff
The music gives us a chance
We do more out on the floor

Groovin’ loose or heart to heart
We put in motion every single part
Funky sounds wall to wall
We’re bumpin’ booties, havin’ us a ball, y’all

(Peaches & Herb Shake Your Groove Thing)

 

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