Today is the first time that I haven’t been able to call Dad and wish him a Happy Father’s Day. It has been a little over six months and I miss him more than ever. There has been a lot of self-reflection over these last months along with a lot of tears and memories that make me laugh and smile.
I realize how much I’m like my Dad in some ways… curious, stubborn, mechanical, awesome sense of humor. He also inspires me still. He demonstrated fearlessness even when I know he had fear but he didn’t let it stop him. I hope my kids will say the same of me someday.
The following is a letter I wrote to him last year. I hope it inspires some of you to reach out in whatever form and don’t leave your feelings and thoughts unspoken.
Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there!
I’ve been meaning to write you for some time now but the quiet moments are so fleeting. I wanted to write because it is a better way to get my thoughts out. If you didn’t hear, I’m a big time writer now (hee, hee.) Pretty cool thought that over 15,000 read something that I wrote. Internet today….. tomorrow a book? Who knows?
I know I haven’t talked to you much lately. Even with the lack of communication, you are in my thoughts every day. I wonder how you are doing, what you are thinking about. We chat on the phone but end up talking about weather, bills…day to day.
I was at work one day, keeping myself busy with the mundane task of re-hanging clothes when a song came overhead and caught me off guard.
You see we have this overhead player that has CD’s programmed with safe retail music. For the past two and half months, I’ve been prisoner to a 70’s themed mix of “rock” music. The quiet war of the CD player ended a few months back after a back and forth CD disposal battle between my manager and I. Unfortunately all that was left was this 70’s themed CD. The very thing I was trying to rid the music system of…… (There is only so much Steppenwolf and The Who a person can take.)
So as I’m tasking, this song comes overhead….. and all of a sudden, my eyes are tearing up and my face is getting flushed. It was Boston’s “Peace of Mind.” Reminded me of when I was little and the trip we took in the motorhome to Wyoming.
A motorhome full of kids, rattling across the west in search of new adventures. Whenever we stopped, it was like a pressure cooker about to blow the lid off. We couldn’t wait to fling open that door and explore our new surroundings.
That whole trip we played Boston, Fleetwood Mac, ELO and ABBA (staples of 70’s rock) in the player. So as you can imagine, work has been quite emotional at times because of this. A lot of the time, though, it makes me smile more than cry.
I know my childhood wasn’t always the greatest but I don’t dwell on the bad. I’m appreciative for so much of the good.
On the days I have Byrd, I get up before she wakes and start making her lunch then I make breakfast for her. Usually, it’s egg whites, toast and fruit. Occasionally, it‘s pancakes and sausage. I remember when we lived in Black Mesa, you waking us up…loudly. It makes me chuckle. Dad walking through the house in his undies and t-shirt…..bugling or wearing that headdress. You’d make us breakfast and off we’d go to catch the bus.
I have a lot of those little things to be thankful for. They lay the groundwork for me as a mom…and a dad.
When thinking about my sisters and I at times, I’ve jokingly thought, you have managed to raise three good sons. We are intelligent, independent and heaven help the poor souls who attempt to tame us. It couldn’t be any other way.
I attribute my sense of adventure to you. Who knows, maybe I was just born a curious soul but you definitely have influenced my wanderlust. I have this yearning to travel and explore that hasn’t dulled in my 43 years. I think of some of the places you have seen and also can’t imagine some of the places you’ve been.
The traveling as a child influenced me so much more than you can imagine. It gave me the opportunity to see a world that was so much bigger than our little corner of Arizona. It opened my mind to ideas, people and cultures that were different than ours. It made me think globally. I don’t think I’d be the same person if I didn’t experience that when I was young.
I feel like I have a responsibility to do as much good in the world as I can while I’m here. Part of that is being a good mom, daughter, sister and friend to those I love. The other part is being helpful, kind, charitable and compassionate to those I may not know. If there is ever an opportunity to “do the right thing, no matter what,” you know I’ll take it.
I hope you know that of all the things you have accomplished in your life, the most important was being a Dad. Businesses, houses come and go. The legacy you leave is your children, grand-children and great-grandchildren.
Well, I’ve been wanting to write some of this down for a while. Apologies for it being kind of haphazard. My way of letting you know what is going on with me.
I’ve been informed that you are feeling resistant to the thought hospice coming in. I’m not sure what you are thinking about Dad. You don’t open up to us that much. I’m sure you are feeling a mass of emotions that change all the time. I know I would be. I can only speak for myself but I am all over the place at times. I feel happy, sad, angry,fearful, thankful, peaceful..anguished. That can happen many times in the course of a week…or even a day.
The thought of you being in so much pain… is painful to me. I know you. You aren’t always up front about how you are really feeling. We feel helpless at times because we don’t have the magic cure. It’s okay to talk to us. We can handle it. We are your children but we aren’t kids. We love you and we want to do what we can for you and Mom.
Here is my thought about Hospice and why it can be helpful. You and Mom need to go back to being husband and wife…partners. When was the last time you two really felt that way? When was the last time you felt connected as a couple? For both of your sakes, you need to preserve your relationship. Don’t put it on hold. Don’t become nurse and patient. You need to be Mom and Dad, Danny & Judy… husband and wife. You need that, she needs that.
Just think about it, okay? Also, don’t be surprised if you end up in some of my writings. I’ll make you semi-famous. 😉
I can’t wait to get up there to see all of you. Talk to you soon!
I love you Dad.
Your favorite youngest daughter,