Today is his birthday, he would have been 57.
Two years ago my sister and I went to his house to celebrate his birthday. We brought a carrot cake that my Grandma made for him, from scratch, his favorite. We ate pizza, played pool in the garage. He took pictures of Racheal and I together, showing off my pregnant belly. We talked about the baby shower planned for the following month. We talked about his upcoming trip to the desert. When I went home I gave him a hug, told him I loved him and that I’d see him soon.
That was the last time we spoke. The last time I hugged him. I miss him every single day. It’s true that with time the anger about unfairness subsides, the pain from his absence dulls. It never really goes away, but making peace with his passing was easier because we had the time together for his birthday.
When Leia was born I felt him there with us. The first Christmas without him I knew he was watching over us. When my Grandma passed I knew she was joining my Grandpa, and they are there with him. I’m not a Christian. I don’t know if I believe in a heaven as biblically described. But I do believe there is a something somewhere that holds their spirits among us.
Today my sister and I watched our kids play together and my Mom told us how proud he is, and how funny he must think little Leia and John Robert are. There are so many memories of my Dad that I want them to know about – his love for camping, riding, baseball and football games, playing pool, the way he took pride in everything he owned and worked hard for, spaghetti dinners when we spent the night at his condo. I remember him for his compassion, his silliness, the way he beamed with pride at my college graduation. He was borderline OCD when it came to folding his clothes, and keeping his truck clean – traits I didn’t inherit, I’m a slob in comparison, sorry Dad!
I love you and miss you so very much.