|My daddy - John|
Today is the seventh anniversary of my dad's passing. It feels like yesterday that I got a call from my brother informing me that he was gone. Dad passed two weeks after his 45th birthday and as far as we all knew he was healthy. His death left us all in a state of shock and no one has really been able to get over it since. This year is really the first time I've been able to shift my focus away from the meaning of today and instead focus on his life.
My parents divorced when I was very young and lived in separate states. I lived primarily in Idaho with my mother but I spent every summer in Wisconsin with my dad. He was the first thing I saw when I got there and the last thing I saw when I left. He taught me how to ride a bike and to dance in the rain. We shared a love of many things including: Jager bombs, Friends (the show), Ace of Base, Savage Garden, Garth Brooks, and a damn good BBQ. My dad loved his family and made sure they knew it. He was the first one there if you needed help and the last to leave.
My dad loved his sports. He loved to golf. Every summer when I was a kid he used to take my brother, my cousins, and I and we'd go golf ball hunting in the woods behind the golf course. He used to pay us each a buck a ball for every golf ball we'd find. Until we got old enough and good enough at finding them that it got to be too expensive, haha. He loved his football too. The packers were his team and every Sunday during football season you'd find him at his best friends house watching the game and drinking beer.
I remember my dad vividly. I can still see his goofy smile whenever he'd see me getting off the plane in Wisconsin. I'll never forget the way he smelled, always like Drakkar, and it still makes my eyes well up whenever I smell it. I still see his hands and how he'd use them to gesture whenever he got animated about something. I remember his hugs and how he'd always stick his face in between my neck and shoulder and tickle me as he squeezed me as tight as he could. Most of all I remember talking to him on the phone and every conversation he'd blow me a kiss before he hung up. He always did, from before I can remember until the day he died.
I miss my dad every day and it breaks my heart that he's no longer on this earth. There are things that happen everyday that I wish I could call and tell him about. I still have moments where I think to myself, "I need to call dad and tell him . . ." and then I remember. Even though I miss him, SOOO MUCH, I am so grateful to have had him for the short amount of time that I did. My life is so much better having had him in it. So today, instead of being sad because he's not here, I'm going to celebrate his life. I'm going to look back at these memories with fondness and happiness that I got to experience them. I'm going to tell my mother and step-father that I love them everyday because I know what it's like not to be able to. Today is definitely a day about my dad, but instead of it being about his death I choose to make it about his life and the fact that he lived.