Today is the anniversary of my father passing many decades ago. It still gives me a strong pause every year. We didn’t get a chance to be real close in the short time we had, but I’ve felt a very strange closeness to him for some time now. When you’re with someone when they leave this world at a young age, both his and mine, it’s the kind of thing that sticks with you. At least it did for me.
The most important pictures I have that sit on the first shelf above my desk are of my Mom and Dad with a few shots of them holding me as an infant. They looked like happy times because the smiles and looks in their eyes I can certainly remember.
What could have been. What would have changed in my world? Lots of times I think to myself now that I’m older that I wouldn’t change a thing about my life because of my family and children. And those are the things I cherish most in life and that is the reason I would never change anything.
But besides some self-inflicted bad decisions along the way in my life that I would like to change, knowing my Dad and listening to his life stories and experiences are something I wish I had. Growing up without that is tough. Not knowing it today is tough.
His death was so traumatic for the family that talk of it wasn’t done. And maybe that was the right call at the time. My sister and I were very young and my Mom made a herculean effort to give both of us a normal childhood. And that was focused on living and surviving. I know this hit my sister very hard. I didn’t know how to help her. I didn’t know how to help myself. I could see the sense of loss and pain every day in my Mother. I resented him for a long time because of that when I was very young.
As you age you let wisdom in, if your smart. He may have made mistakes, he certainly gave his all for this country. And I’m certain he would have given his all for the family. War’s and illness took that from him.
I don’t know where I’m going with this except to stay that its hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you came from. And part of my life in that regard was lost. So I’ve been forging my own path for a while. Not always successfully but moving forward. I’m seeing that both of my children will exceed me in ways of knowledge, compassion and love, and that makes me so happy.
I hope he would have felt the same way about me, but I’ll never know. I hope by writing and expressing myself more each day that my children will know their Dad a bit better than I had a chance to.