It's been 53 days since I lost my father and I've looked ahead at this June date with dread. I've also struggled with how to honor him best.
The last few weeks of his life were difficult and I don't want that to be the way I (or anyone else) remembers him...his life was so much more.
Above all else, my dad was a kind, loving, funny and honorable man who.sacrificed much for the benefit of his children. A lasting legacy is the education I received -- something he valued tremendously.
I remember the praise, the laughter, the love, the comfort and the time we spent together doing ordinary things...
- racing sticks in the brook;
- playing with our dogs Amber and Michele;
- countless games of catch;
- planting the garden and taking care of the pool;
- grilling and backyard picnics;
- going to baseball games and golfing tournaments;
- instilling in me a love of history as we wove visits to historical sites into the family vacation;
- fostering a love of travel and admiring the planning that went into our trip to Nova Scotia;
- a solo trip together to Seattle;
- attending the Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremony together;
- being the dad that everyone enjoyed talking to;
- his ability to talk to anyone and laughing at how he would know their story after a 2 minute conversation;
- the way he cherished my mom
But I think what I am most proud of is that he treated everyone he met with the same level of respect!
In a nutshell, he was Most Excellent
(a phrase he often used when I called and asked him how he was doing)
I always told my dad how much I loved him and there was nothing left unsaid...nothing that needed to be rekindled. For that I am thankful...
But that doesn't make it easier on this Father's Day -- the first I will spend without him. There is a void and there are many tears. I didn't want to be part of this club.
Now I'd like to share this message that we handed out to his family and friends. I draw strength from these thoughts because I know this is how he would feel:
I'd like the memory of me
to be a happy one,
I'd like to leave an afterglow
of smiles when life is done.
I'd like to leave an echo
whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times
and bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who grieve
to dry before the sun,
Of happy memories that I leave
When life is done.
I love you Dad...and thank you!