The score is Illinois 4, Carolina 2. Dad is engrossed. I am writing. All is well.

From the time I was little, my dad and I have watched ACC basketball together. I am not an athlete, and most other sports only serve to facilitate my napping, but ACC basketball just makes my soul dance a little. Because my dad loves it, I do, too.

It’s our first day without anyone else . . . and without Mom. My brother and his wife left today; the last of my dad’s family left today. And Dad and I have been in this quiet house alone since early afternoon. It was too softly silent today; Dad kept turning on music.

So tonight, the voices of the announcers, the squeak of the tennis shoes, Dad’s occasional outbursts of “Come on _______ ” (we’re onto our fourth game of the evening) have filled the basement with vibrations that remind us we are alive and not alone in the world, even though it feels that way, at least to me.

There are terrible pains that come with Mom’s death falling on Thanksgiving, at just the very beginning of the Christmas season, and we will deal with those as they come. But tonight, I am simply grateful that her death came at a time when Dad and I can fill our evenings with games and our own “expert commentary.” As it always has, the boys of the ACC are holding us together. Thank God for basketball.

NC State Basketball – NC State Basketball from Dad’s alma mater