Saturday, April 13, 2013

Happy Birthday

One year ago today was a good day.  It was the last birthday I got to spend with my dad.  We went to his favorite pizza place and celebrated the way we had every other birthday.  His grandsons ran around playing games and the adults sat at a big round table and shared stories. 

The waitress was terrible, messing up everyone's order, spilled water, confused the checks and even dropped our pizza. We laughed at it all, because it didn't matter. It was a good day.

Dad rode with JP and I in his truck and just getting into the truck took his breath away. It took the entire car ride for him to catch his breath. I was concerned and asked if he wanted to skip the pizza, but he assured me it would pass and he was looking forward to the pizza.  It was a good day.

Christmas 1969...gotta dig the paneling. 

It was a day of family...a day of laughter...a day of love...and day of good-byes.  We knew his fight with cancer was coming to an end, but just one week later we lost him.  It was sudden, although inevitable with the diagnosis he had received 6 months earlier, it was still an abrupt turn for the worse.  Heartbreaking does not describe the loss. 

We felt robbed, because this was a man full of life right up until the end. He never lost hope, therefore neither did I. I still feel robbed, in shock and don't know how a year has gone by. I still wake-up with a nagging feeling like something is wrong (like you've forgot something as you leave the house) and then you remember and your heart falls into your stomach.

I look back on April 13, 2012 and I am grateful for the day. Grateful for that day and so many other things.

Do not remember the occasion, but I must have been in college.

I am grateful to my dad for my creativity, it was his gift to me.  His was unbridled and once my mom came home to find the house painted with stripes...yes stripes.  A canvas became a story, whether than canvas was the ceiling (with water stains) that then became a huge tree growing down the hallway.  The pink walls of my bedroom were painted in Disney characters way before it was cool to do these was 1970.

Must have been Christmas in 1970.
I would have just turned 1and my brother was 4.
My son has this dark hair and brows...looks so similar to my dad in this photo.
I am grateful for my coloring.  I don't burn, I don't have to wear mascara or fill in my eyebrows (well...I mean I can at least go to the grocery without them).  My coloring is dark and I am definitely my fathers daughter. 

I was in 1st grade when this picture was taken.

I am grateful for my athleticism, he made me a tomboy and I am capable of many things because of it.  The fact that running makes me feel strong physically and mentally is something he instilled in me at age 5.

My brother also wore the number 44 on all his team uniforms.

I am grateful how much he loved Q.  He was about as great of a "PAPA" as a grandchild could have.  He always wanted to spend time with Q, never would say no to babysitting. He was at every wrestling match, t-ball game, grandparents day, birthday...whatever the celebration he was front and center. Q's senior year of wrestling, he wore a green baseball cap to every match. He would use felt to cut out the initials for the teams Q defeated and iron them onto his hat.  By the end of the season the hat was full of crazy looking felt letters.  At the time we thought he was going overboard, but that hat was the only thing I wanted after he passed.

Grandparents day when Q was in the 4th grade.

I have always felt capable.  Just watching him taught me to problem solve. When you run out of windshield wiper fluid on a messy winter day, you don't panic, you just pull over and throw snow onto your windshield...then you keep some in a spare cup or whatever you will make it to the gas station.

With his three older brothers and this 97 year old mom.

I am grateful for his love of the arts.  Movies, music, dance, books and art are to be respected and appreciated. They are a way to feel, see, and hear joy. He loved to watch people "burn" and I miss his enthusiasm. We had great conversations about all these things.

Proud Papa when Q  was first born.

I am grateful to him for showing me nature and how to respect it and find peace from it.  Spiders aren't killed they are relocated, dolphins don't get eaten with the tuna, things are not to be killed in vain. Respect the world and in it you will find God...not the kind of God organized religion brings to some, but the kind of God that he and I understood and were secure in.

Happy Birthday Dad.
You are missed more than I thought possible.

1 comment:

twoandlu said...

I know this was a hard post for you to write. This is a very sweet tribute to your father. His memory lives on. Hugs to you my dear friend!