Andrea C. Anastasi

Philadelphia, PA

It all happened so quickly.  The entire year was a blur of chaos and constant motion.  That didn’t really change after it was all over. It felt like we were running a race to put it all behind us and finally breathe.  But the sudden disappearance of his clothes after it happened made me lose my breath.  It felt like I was losing a piece of him, and I wasn’t ready to let go.

He had always been such a dapper dresser, reflective of the fact that he had been a very distinguished man, a gentleman really.  I felt fortunate to have had him in my life for so long, but still – if only I could have had a little longer.  But it was for the best that he was finally at peace after so much suffering.  Still, I miss him terribly.  And when the clothes started to go out the door – I don’t know – it was just so sudden, too sudden.

I didn’t anticipate having such a reaction to his garments vanishing. After all, they were just clothes, right?  But still, he had worn them, and I was desperate to keep any part of him alive and with me.  I still am.  I worry that I’ll start to forget, and that scares me.

Luckily, I was able to snag the hoodie and matching sweatpants I had frequently borrowed from him when we were down the shore. I had always loved that ensemble for some reason.  It’s just so warm and comfy…and very “him.”  And of course it’s too big on me, but with a few adjustments, I make it work.

It’s funny because the outfit is very “retro” and “in” right now.  I guess it’s classic really, just like he was.  I wear it often.  It’s like I’m enveloped in his warm embrace, which I find so comforting.  I actually wore the hoodie to all of my exams in law school.  It was like my lucky charm, which is only appropriate given how lucky I was and still am to have had a dad like him.

I wanted to wear the hoodie to my law school graduation too.  During the ceremony I thought about the fact that with each new milestone there will be a celebration, but also a deep sadness and longing for his presence.  I felt the same way when I found out that I had passed the bar exam a few months later.  I really wanted to share the good news with him.  After all, I couldn’t have done any of it without him or the lucky hoodie.

However, I think I’m finally starting to realize that as I move forward and make new memories, he will always be with me and be a part of who I am.  As he used to sing when I was little, “You’re the end of a rainbow, my pot of gold.  You’re daddy’s little girl, to have and to hold.”  And when I get scared about forgetting or feel sad or miss him, I will always have the hoodie to have and to hold and to reassure me that he will be with me no matter how much time passes.

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