Happy Birthday, Dad

The plan was to ignore today as much as possible – to shut off my brain and quiet my heart whenever the significance of today’s date began creeping in. But I don’t think that’s the healthy way to go. I’ve spent way too many months pushing away the sadness, ignoring the grief, and it’s just not going away.

Over the weekend I had a dream that I’ve had a thousand times before. The setting can be different, but the action is always the same – my mouth is full of this chewing gum that keeps growing and growing until I feel like I’m going to choke. I start pulling it out and throwing it away, but more keeps appearing. I’ve come to realize that the dream always happens when I avoid acknowledging things I’ve been feeling, things that I need to talk about. So maybe writing this all out will help at least a little bit…

Dad, I’m sure I can speak for all of us when I say we miss you so much. This year has been the most difficult I’ve ever been through. You are everywhere and nowhere, and it hurts a lot. I spent the better part of the past year being sad and then angry and then sad again. I honestly feel like I got cheated out of a good relationship with you. We were finally at a good, stable point in our relationship. I was finally really letting you in, and then, next thing you know all of our lives were turned upside down.

I talk about you all the time. I have what feels like a billion stories to share with R. I didn’t even realize we had so many good memories to share. Whenever I visit K and M we have a lot of laughs about all of our years with you. Despite the divorces and other complications that came along with being your kids, we really were lucky to have you as our dad.

I just wish you could have stuck around a little longer. There are so many milestones coming up that you’re going to miss. K is getting married in September! How many times did we say we didn’t think that was going to happen? M is starting nursing school and is doing really great at his job. R and I are hoping to buy a house and maybe start a family soon(ish). I was really looking forward to you being a grandpa to my kids. I think that’s what hurts the most right now – knowing you’ll be missing so much.

I hope you’re in peace and enjoying it wherever you are today. I’d like to imagine you’re getting in a round of golf followed by a steak on the grill and a whiskey to top it all off.

As for me, I’m listening to the Eagles all day today, imagining you singing along. I love you, but I’m sorry, I still can’t listen to Jackson Brown or Neil Young – yuck! As you always said, “There’s no accounting for taste.”

Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you so much.

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