July 9th is always a day that causes me to reflect on one of the toughest incidents of my life. A day most of us encounter. The day one of our parents pass. A day that changes things forever. A day my Dad died. A day that left many things unsaid, many shared experiences never to be. Missed smiles and hugs of pride and appreciation of accomplishments. A firm voice when things go wrong and suggestions how to get back on track. An example and lead on how to raise your own family. A professional guide into business. Someone to play catch with.
My Dad died 51 years ago on July 9th, about a month after that picture above was taken. I never really learned to throw a football well. I loved sports but sometimes it was rough seeing all the kids with their Dads there cheering them on. My Mom would come when she could and I appreciated it. But back then there weren’t a lot of Mom’s watching like it is today. Almost the exception instead of the rule. Its funny because I think both of us felt a bit uncomfortable and I remember telling her she didn’t need to feel obligated to come to the games.
This was the beginning of a whole bunch of traumatic times. I needed more guidance and discipline. I needed to be made to focus on some goals. I made a lot of wrong choices. I take full responsibility for them also. I just had too much freedom and lacked maturity. Its funny some ways I was a lot more mature than a lot of kids my age for years. I knew what working hard was and the meaning of money at a very young age.
I was also aware that life could be short, before seeing 10 years old. That is something is both good and bad. Because at a young age living like there is no tomorrow can be a dangerous thing. Yeah its good to stretch your wings. But there is a balance.
My Mother is a saint and busted her behind and sacrificed for years for us kids. No mother could love her children more. As we grew up we certainly didn’t make it easy for her. I know my Fathers passing hit her hard. I can remember finding her crying a lot. Always have to give Mom props for doing the roll of both Mom and Dad for a long time.
Last year was the 50th anniversary of his passing. I wrote a more detailed story about it but found a few pictures I didn’t use for that piece so I thought I’d include them today.
So this day I again say, I miss you Dad.
July 10, 2017 at 2:54 AM
Wonderfully written, Dad. As always, I’m inspired by your strength. I am sure Grandma and Grandpa Hartley are proud of you; I know I am.