Losing A Parent - 20 Years Later


That's a photo of me paying homage to my Dad when I had my hair cut off a few years back for our Country Cares For St. Jude Kids Radiothon. I had it removed in stages including the classic flat-top. Dad wore his hair that way in high school and during the early 60's. I wanted to see if I could pull off the look and share this photo with Mom.

That's just one of the ways we cope, isn't it. We find a way to find a connection. A sound or a smell will trigger a memory. Like that of a power saw will remind me of him building a deck for my sister or building furniture in his workshop. The smell of cherry flavored tobacco takes me waaaayyyy back to when he smoked a pipe. I think of the technology that has come along since he passed. He'd be going nuts for flat screen televisions, cell phones and lap top computers. The Hewlett-Packard he had when he died had a whole one gig of storage!!!! That was plenty in those days. When I think about that, I feel sad. Sad for me because I missed out on sharing stuff like that with him. Sharing time with him and his GREAT-Grandchildren whom he never got to meet; unless you believe he and other long-lost loved ones in Heaven had a hand in picking those little angels out for us. I think about the TV shows he would have loved. I'm certain NCIS would be a favorite and probably The Big Bang Theory. I think about needing his advise. How proud he'd be of not only his Grand and Great Grand children, but of the life Kelly and I have built and the lives led by my sisters. He sure missed out on knowing a couple of great guys, my son-in-law Justin and my brother-in-law Mark. And I'm sad for Mom who really missed out on growing old with him. This year would be their 58th anniversary.

Not every memory is a sad one. And not every trigger brings on the waterworks. I'll hear a cool song or see an amazing musical or athletic performance and look up to Heaven and smile and ask "you like that one, Dad?". On the other hand I watch, for example, the final scenes of "Field Of Dreams" and just lose it. " Hey,,,Dad, wanna have a catch?".

I have no guaranteed ways to deal with the death of a parent. For me I'll say it's gotten easier as time has gone on. But we never forget when he left, how he left, the late night phone call, the funeral, the burial. He's gone and yet we still feel his presence. It seems like yesterday and today marks twenty years.

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