Today is my Dad’s birthday. He would have been 82 years old.
It is incredible to me that you have been gone now for more than 25 years -- half of my life.
You were a teacher, in so many ways, and you taught me a great number of things in our time together. Obviously, there were many things you didn’t teach me. Some I wasn’t ready to hear. Others, well, we just kinda ran out of time, didn’t we?
It fascinates me how even though it has been so many years since we lost you, you still fill my thoughts fairly regularly. Something I see or do reminds me of you or of something you once said. A joke you once told (and you told many). A song I once heard you sing. A story you once told me.
I share stories about you with my kids. Unfortunately, they never knew you – but hopefully through my stories they have a sense of the kind of man you were. Your kind, warm and gentle spirit. I wish you could have known my kids.
We had “A Good Person” engraved on your tombstone. It was an expression you used to use to describe others. When you died, we all agreed that it belonged on your tombstone because you were most certainly a good person yourself.
Every once in a while, you still visit me in my dreams. Like most dreams, even the ones when you visit make no sense. But when I wake from one, I always try to hang onto that feeling for an extra moment or two. That sense of you being with me again. The way your eyes would smile when you looked at me.
I’ve been very fortunate throughout my life – worked hard and have had a good career, married an incredibly loving woman and raised two amazing kids. Obviously, not everything worked out the way I hoped but some things are just out of our control, aren’t they?
As I learned through you, none of us know how much time we have on this planet. It is for that reason that I try to imbue every single day with a sense of importance. I try to make those I love feel loved every single day – by both telling them and showing them with my actions. Someday I’ll be gone and I want them to carry with them the same sense of being loved that I carry from you.
Happy Birthday, Dad!