Tag Archives: father

Disconnect to survive.

I recall that in the presence of death I have never felt so much love, seen such devotion given, such support lavished on my father and us, his family.  A man dies as he lived.  How do we live on after losing someone so integral to our life?  He wasn’t just my father, he was my mentor and role model.  He was the quiet strength that I never took full advantage of but craved and benefitted from whenever I called.

October in New Jersey.  Dad’s memorial service.  Out from the blue my body began to tremor.  My ma spoke into the microphone about my father and tremors turned to shaking.  I inhaled slowly, demanding of myself the impossible, that I had better keep my shit together.  No sooner had I finished telling myself that did I lose it.  My head dropped and my hands covered my mouth and then my face.  My stomach twisted and my heart wrenched.  I was sitting on a bench with a eulogy for my father in hand.  How?  Why?  My sister put her hand on my back – I was losing my mind, I wanted to scream.  I wanted to stop the service, as if shutting it down would deny the fact that my hero was dead.  Dead.  The word sounds so absolute.  And it is.  Life would always be the same but I would not.

I delivered his eulogy with a croak in my voice – I didn’t sound like myself to myself.  I looked into the crowd and saw two of my best friends, two people who have always opened their hearts and home to me over the years.  I knew him since first grade and his girlfriend for years.  It took everything I had not to break down and sob.  I needed, I wanted someone to hug me and not say a word.  I felt my strength waning as I spoke, panic setting in as I neared the end of the eulogy.  I flashed back to pulling up to the service in the car.  The honor guard waiting.  The Patriot Riders waiting.  Lawrence and Tonya watching their friend approach his father’s memorial service.  My mom barely holding it together, being reminded with each passing second why she was there, the hot pricks of the bitterness of loss nudging her forward through the service with me at her side and her other children in tow.  The sound of rifles unleashing in a 21 gun salute, causing me to shake violently, my mom squeezing her eyes shut with every round that went off. I was told it was a beautiful eulogy and I know everyone meant it.  I’m glad they thought it was beautiful; it was the most horrific experience of my life.

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My brother played the guitar and my mom sang to it to honor my dad.  My sister put on a hoop performance for him – I listen to that song she hooped to on loop sometimes for hours if I’m alone, as if it will somehow help me out of this shock.  “The Mountain” by Trevor Hall.  Way up on the mountain.  Mountains.  The mountains of Palm Springs, California that towered over Eisenhower Medical Center in California.

The evening of my arrival I walked my Dad through the halls of the hospital.  He gripped my forearm and walked with a cane in his other hand.  The last time I had seen him he was dressed and could walk on his own.  Now he was in a hospital gown and straining to breath as we walked, grimacing from the pain.  It wasn’t right.  It wasn’t right!!  My own father was dying right in front of me, it’s so fucked up.  I wanted to take the cancer from him, my daughter was due in June – just over two months away and I knew he wouldn’t be alive to be present at her birth, to be able to enjoy unrestricted access to his new granddaughter.  I begged and begged for my father not to be taken from us even though I knew it was just life unfolding.

At the end of our life we have lost so many people we care about and love – how do we survive to that point?  We will never be whole again, we live on as mosaics of shattered pieces – and I a new man, a new form that I did not ask for but must live on with.  Live on?  Food doesn’t have the same taste.  Music isn’t what I remember it to be.  I pause to take in the world around me and intellectually it all registers but emotionally there is nothing there and it lacks meaning.  Familiar places feel foreign.  Sometimes I don’t even recognize where I am yet at the same time can move about and get to where I need to be.  I am numb.

The only other time I feel like a participant in my life is when I am with my daughter.  Her smile, that beautiful smile and her laugh cause a warm rush within my heart.  Watching her open and close her hands as she looks right at me and raises her arms – such love!  I have no desire other than to lift her into my arms, look into her big beautiful blue eyes and tell her that I love her, that I would move the mountains for her.  She wears a lot of bows and headbands with flowers on them.  She should.  Her middle name is Rose and she’s more beautiful than the finest.  I am finally able to provide for her.  It took just under a year of unbroken determination, 13+ hour work days, broken bones and sweat to achieve liftoff but god dammit I did it and will continue to.  I have almost fully managed to put aside the numbness, the grief while at work.  I have to.  My Dad worked his ass off and had an unmatched work ethic to provide for us, to support our family and I will make sure I continue to do so for my mija.  I am a good father and little M deserves that.

Rarely am I afforded glimpses into my grief.  I don’t know whether to fear that or be grateful.  I still cannot fully accept that he is gone.  It can’t possibly be true.  I have too many amazing memories of him for his presence to be replaced with a vacuum, a void.  Grief seems so much bigger than mankind, transcendent of it.  Grief is a Gemini, it’s twin is love.  Love, a quality whose fullness does not depend on us for existence, but whose beautifully speechless nature illuminates our hearts, enriches life and compounds it’s purpose.

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Reincarnation.

I’m in Cleveland attending a leadership conference for my job. The amount of knowledge and inspiration I’ve received in the last day alone makes me want to fly back home and get back to work. I can only imagine what the rest of the week holds.

I was in this same house when my Ma called me to tell me my Dad checked into the hospital with what turned out to be a devastating case of sarcoma cancer. It’s forcing grief. I’m attending my father’s memorial service a week after leaving this leadership conference. I feel very conflicted and don’t want to confront the grief that I know will be drawn to my surface. I haven’t done much working through it since cancer killed him, instead just working nonstop and trying to be a good father. I’m delivering the eulogy for mine.

Consolation doesn’t exist. Grief is not a wound to be patched up. It just exists and I will always miss him with a pain that sears through…all of me. Flashbacks of his first night in hospice as my brother and I held his hand continue to surface – and the emotions along with it. I kept staring at him. The whole time I was in California with him I stared. He was real back then and now only slightly less so in my memories and yet I must daily reckon with reality because he isn’t here anymore. He isn’t real. My heart feels completely covered in bruises and every time it beats it might be better for it to collapse than tolerate the wrenching scream that it releases each time, reminding me that I’m alive without my Dad. That probably sounded pretty dramatic.

Back to work.

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The end of March.

Memories drift by in my mind of times when you weren’t sick. I look at myself then and want to grab me by the shoulders and yell what the future holds. To warn myself. Not that it’d do any good. Regardless, you’re gone now and I can’t talk to you anymore, I can’t hug you anymore. It causes me ceaseless pain and great sadness. What am I supposed to do with these feelings?

You took in a boy and made him your own and I didn’t make it easy on you at all. I regret that even though I know you hold no grudge against me for it.

I wake up most mornings and feel so empty. I don’t like it, I detest it. Where are you now? What do you see? Do you have a routine? What’s it like when you look in on us and see that we are still so deeply grieving you? How are you more alive than you’ve ever been -what does that mean?

When we spoke, you told me you believed in me and knew I would fly high with my new career, my passion and yet I’m still fumbling to make ends meet. I give 100% every day and success still evades me. Am I being impatient? What would you say? I refuse to quit, I told myself when I flew out for basic training in Cleveland that there’s no turning back, that even if things didn’t go as I imagined I would I find a way to maintain until I hit my flashpoint and catapult forward as a professional dog trainer. I told you that, too. I thought of you when I graduated on March 29th and I truly felt like a superhero when I put on my uniform. I still do. But without you here I feel like I’m flying blind.

I remember when mom called me and told me you checked into Eisenhower. March 27th. We thought it was a fungal infection and pinched nerves due to your previous radiation treatments from your first bout with the tumor in your arm. Mom called me later that evening to update me. It was dark outside and tiny snowflakes flurried through the air. I could see my breath. The lights at the training center across the street were still on. She kept telling me the doctors were almost certain it was cancer but were waiting for test results. That I shouldn’t worry just yet. My heart dropped a thousand miles in the blink of an eye and I knew this was it. I knew you were dying. My mind went blank.

I went inside on auto-pilot. Rick, Bret, and Nick asked if I was ok. I lied and said I was fine. I made dinner and went to my room. Little puddles formed at my feet and grew with every tear that fell onto them. I didn’t make a sound but my body trembled and then it shook. I didn’t sleep that night.

The next day I received a picture of you in your hospital bed, spirits bright as always and your food tray in front of you. I know that smile you had on your face didn’t come easily. I felt stuck. I didn’t want to leave my training and put it on hold. No turning back, remember? But I was overwhelmed with the urge to get to California that second to be by your side. To rally the entire family and call them to your side, a loving display of solidarity for the man that bettered this family by being the foundation on which we built our lives.

I’ve never had such trouble focusing before but I knew I had to if I wanted to graduate and become a part of the team. I wanted to focus. I was acting a little different and some of the trainers noticed. Some didn’t. I didn’t want anybody to notice anything. What was I supposed to say if they asked what was wrong? A part of your lung had collapsed and tumors were growing everywhere.

The color orange, concrete, and then a mix of muddy and frozen grass. I had walked from the training center to the outside near the back of the kennel runs. I paced. I spoke with both of my sisters, my brother and my mom. I let my mentor Lorenzo know what was happening and he called me to talk. He offered to fly me out to you. Dad, I want you to know that someone that had never met you and didn’t even know me entirely showed me such generosity and compassion without reserve. It further deepened my commitment to him and the company. It made my chest tighten – I had never been on the receiving end of something like that. It mattered to me.

I thought of you early in the morning as I ran two miles on the morning of my graduation test. March 29th. I mustered every bit of energy I had left to catch up to my mentor as he jogged past me at the tail end of that run. I wanted to impress him, I wanted to show him that even though I was exhausted I could still move, I could work, I could get it done. I find myself in a similar situation now where business is so slow and I’m struggling to keep up with life but I’m still moving. I won’t stand still. One way or another I’m going to make this happen and with the help of my team, be successful. I saw it in your eyes when I talked about professional dog training that you believed me, that I had found what I was looking for. I just wish you were here now to see me through this challenging time.

I stared at the green curtain that hung at the entrance of your room as I approached it, telling myself that this moment is about to happen and will be gone forever. I told myself that every day I was in California. I just wanted you to be healthy again. I wanted you to at least feel Makayla move. It ripped me through to pieces to watch you place your hand on her mother’s belly.

There were many times where we all gathered in that hospital room and filled the halls with our laughter, an unintentional and outward reminder to all that not even the ominous presence of death could break the love that bound us all together. You were a celebrity there, hospital staff not assigned to you would hear about you from their peers and come to meet you. You and ma, Happily Homeless. The greatest love story ever told.

The OxyContin. Terribly powerful and you were on such a high dose. I was there and you were so under it’s influence that you kept forgetting to breathe. You’d jerk and inhale sharply after a few minutes of not breathing, as if your body’s instinct kicked in. Do you remember that night? I sat next to you and calmly breathed with you:

“Breathe in.”

“Breathe out.”

“Good job, pop, great job.”

Over and over. Mom says that kept you alive that night.

The hospital staff put options on the table. Treatment. Likelyhood of survival. Hospice. Hospice…….hospice. We spoke twice before on the phone and you said you wouldn’t give up, that you’d fight this but I believe you said that because I needed to hear it. You wanted to protect us. Then came the day. Early afternoon and the sun was hitting the walls of your room because the blinds were partially closed. I kept staring at you, trying to figure out what you were thinking and feeling as we all discussed the route of hospice with you. I feel like I could tell you preferred to let nature take it’s course but didn’t want to tell us because you wanted to protect us from the heartbreak. We all knew. We closed in around you. Ma was at your side, Rae and boy by your legs. I took your hand and told you we supported and respected your decision to go into hospice. You clutched my hand and have never squeezed it so firmly. Your eyes clouded up and I know you wanted to cry. Boy took a picture of our hands firmly clasped together.

Sometimes I live these memories again and again. They’re terrible, they’re beautiful, they’re many things at once. What were you thinking? You put on such a brave face throughout this period. The handful of times you and I cried together while you were sick were the only times we ever did. I want you back. It’s a foolish thing because I know it will never be but I feel as if I will always have a hole in me that appeared when you left.

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The hollowing path.

Hindsight is not always kind. As time separates my dad and I, the more I realize just what a source of strength his existence was in my life, just knowing he was there. Reachable.

There’s been a deepening sense of sadness and loneliness I’ve felt more and more as time goes on. So far I haven’t been able to shake it. The world seems bigger and emptier. My house feels bigger and emptier. I feel detached from just about everything other than my daughter. I’m still working my hardest at my career every day so I suppose it’s more accurate to say that outside of my mija and dog training, I don’t feel……anything.

He reached out to my mom the other day which made me feel such relief for my mom. My brother and I have been praying for him to find a way to do that since he died and boy did he ever. It does, however make me miss him all the more and reminds me of that. I feel no anger about it anymore, just a deep sense of sadness and defeat. For now, the world seems grey. I wish I could talk with him again, see where he is. I almost feel like I’m flying blindly through life now. I’m sure many men feel this way when their father dies so believe me I’m not asking for pity.

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I am Domesticon

Mark 1:38 pm Sunday, August 11, 2013. Credible sources confirm that Alec has become boring and no longer leads the exciting life of his past. According to eyewitness statements, he speaks of the Shark vacuum vs. Dyson as if it is Lucifer rebelling against God and the epic battle of good vs. evil is once again underway.

I squeal with excitement upon finding out that baking soda, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide are effective household cleaners that eliminate the need for harsh chemical cleaners like Drano and Febreeze. Fu*k you, Febreeze, you can go drown yourself in Drano. I’m happy about it. And then I’m sad that I’m happy about it because other things used to be exciting and now anything positively domestic is cause for celebration because life has necessarily become mundane. I have become Domesticon, transformer of the home & hearth.

You know that scene in The 40 Year Old virgin where, at work, Steve is asked how his weekend was and he responds by talking about wanting to make an egg sandwich but it doesn’t work out the way he wished? That’s me, that’s how my weekends are now, hahaha. Oh the sadness!

Fatherhood and career. Not much time for anything or anyone else.

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Negotiating with a newborn.

Let’s begin this with the Father’s creed:

“I have been transformed and am no longer a person.  I’m a changing facility.  I’m a feeding station.  I am destined to lose my hearing to constant exposure to audio explosions averaging 100 decibels, praise the Lord.  My education consists of puppets living on a street named after a seed.  I hate seeds.  The only reason I disliked cartoons as an adult was because I was not intellectually advanced enough to appreciate them.  I despise sleep.”

Being a new dad isn’t too easy.  Originally I thought a maid robot similar to the one featured in “The Jetsons” would just show up and take care of things for me.  After seeing “I, Robot” I’m a little wary about that kind of arrangement.

At the supermarket I noticed my self-checkout pace increasing with my lil ones fussy noises.  The louder she became, the faster I moved just hoping she wouldn’t have a meltdown and force me to leave my raspberry lemonade and tortilla chips at the register to run her back to the car while awkwardly trying to gently swing her in her car seat to calm her while sprinting through the parking lot. God help me.  I would have looked like Quasimodo on methamphetamines.

Her mother can more than relate I’m sure, since she has her a majority of the time since I’m working 10+ hours a day six days a week.

I was at the bank this morning and realized I was swaying my hips back and forth as I stood in line, apparently holding my invisible daughter. Sentimentally ‘shhhhhh’ing’ the banker as she spoke to me at the window also made for an awkward moment.

She burped formula all over my shirt today.  I’m thinking about owning it and posturing myself as a man-fashionista ahead of my time.  Instead of having bleached and stressed jeans let us now rock dried and crunchy ‘burp aftermath’ on our apparel.

And yet I still can’t help but smile every time I look at her Winston Churchill cheeks.

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4 centimeters dilated and thinking.

We have been at the hospital for over 10 hours now.  From here on out, the ‘B.C.’ for my life will be pre-fatherhood and fatherhood.  It’s a contrast that I could think about for hours, maybe days at a time.  Who I was before my mija, who I have become during her mother’s pregnancy and who I will grow to be as she grows up.  I have flashbacks of my early 20’s and my persistent attempts to move out west and stay out west.  The experiences I’ve had, the maturing I needed to do — the maturity that comes with age.  The mistakes, the adventures, the everything.  I don’t miss it.  I’m excited as hell to hold my girl!  I’m so proud of her mom.  And soon, life will never again be the same.

The last time I was in a hospital, it was for the exact opposite reason I am here now and I was losing my dad.  Here I sit, now ready to receive my daughter.  Within two months there has been death and life, the death of and the birth of two people so incredibly dear to me and close to my heart.  How has life come to such a state?  If there is anything that inspires one to contemplate life, it’s frailty, beauty, finiteness, and meaning, then the last 2 months have done exactly that.  I have gone into the intellectual and spiritual deep end and am content to not say a word about it to anybody.  I don’t need to.  It’s why I write and am content to think about it endlessly.  How a zygote — something invisible to the naked eye, and it’s genetic blueprint form a human is…..mind blowing.

What will she sound like?  What will the difference in her voice be as she grows?  What color and shape will her eyes be?  Her hair?  Her intellect?  Will she be mathematically oriented?  Artistically oriented?  Both?  Neither?  How amazing it must be to watch as she marvels at the fact that she has hands and feet!  I look at my hands and feet everyday, occasionally thinking about the nature of their shape and their existence but usually underwhelmed by them because I am so used to having them accompany me on my body on a regular basis.  But to her, she is going to look at them and have this look in her eyes that says, “Holy phalanges, Batman, what the shit are these??”  She won’t even get her own Batman reference!  She will learn of Batman, rest assured.  And Iron Man.

I love this wee-lass more than I can convey and she isn’t even here yet.

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Of shock and awe.

“He’s gone…”  “He’s gone…”  “He’s gone…”  It repeats every day in my head.  Every night in my dreams.  Every morning it wakes me up.  How can this be?  It’s been almost three weeks since my father died but some days feel so normal, like he will show up in June, ready to accompany the rest of my family to the hospital when Makayla is born.  Other days I feel like I am suspended within a multifaceted tornado made of broken glass where I am not harmed but surrounded by fragmented reflections of myself.  I look closer and ask the shards of reflections, “Who are you?”  “Who were you?”  “Where’s your dad?”  “How could you not have known this would happen?”  Irrational, understandable, panic, and peace throw themselves on top of me like wet blankets and I want nothing to do with any of them.  What do I want?  I want emptiness, a place where I can meet my father, a place that transcends the finite halls that are plagued by mortality and it’s shortcomings so I can say one last goodbye.  I want to feel or see where he is, I want him to tell me that he will watch over us, that he has met his granddaughter.  I want to know what he thinks about her.

My muscles are quivering, these are the aftershocks of shock…..of awe, the remnants of my last desperate reaches and attempts to follow my dad when he took his last breath, foolishly and selfishly demanding that he not leave his family, taxing my intellect and imagination to it’s maximum capacity to create a memory of where he is right now, trying to trick my senses into convincing me that I have touched it and in turn, followed him into the beyond if only for a moment so that I can feel reassured that he still IS.  God, I miss him so much.  Just months before he died, he and I hiked Camelback mountain with my mom.  It’s not an easy hike and he apparently had a tumor in his lung when he did it.  That’s a fucking Iron Man.

Why did he have to die?

It’s fucked up, but I miss and ruminate on the days of Eisenhower Hospital; he was in his last month of life but he and I shared some of the most powerful moments of my life during that period.  I can remember in exquisite detail when I groomed him.  Right before I started, we each made a lame-ass joke to one another and then….we were completely silent from that point forward.  The energy in the room changed as if it snapped to attention.  Time did not stop, but it felt like it slowed down significantly.  The clippers hummed but I was hardly aware of the sound, I heard something else that I cannot explain, I felt something I cannot explain — nor do I have any intention of trying.  It still makes me cry because it was so sublime and…real.  It was cerimonious.

His hair was short and snow white with strands of dark grey.  He was “sweating” his cancer.  He allowed himself to be vulnerable with me and relaxed his head into my palm, allowing me to care for him.  We breathed slowly…synchronously.

I find myself at a loss now, so few words left to type.  Perhaps it is best.  All I will say is that’s the most significant thing I’ve experienced with my dad.  As verbose and exaggerated as this all might sound, I learned more about manhood in that moment than any other in my life, as if it was transferred to me intuitively.

You were a fucking rockstar, pop.

You were a fucking rockstar, pop.

 

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Iron Man. I am not an i-ron.

At some point during my early 20’s I got the nickname Iron Man.  I didn’t mind it because everyone needs iron to fortify their cereal.  Back in iron’s heyday it was the tits.  Yea, I just said tits.  This means that I share a connection with the tits of times past and cereal.  Fuck yea.  After interrogating nobody, I found out I had that name given to me for three reasons:

One, I went to the gym before work every morning and showed up in swimming trunks, sandals, and a tank top.  Why would I show up in such a relaxed and daring attire?  Because I would go swimming or hit the hot tub after alpha male-ing those 5 lb iron weights.  5 lbs in each hand, might I add (you may swoon now).  I wasn’t about to show up for work in my work clothes, that’s an idea that has no place at the workplace!  I forced everyone to acknowledge that I was entering my mediocre job feeling relaxed, feeling like a million bucks.  Nay!  A million relaxed bucks.

Two, it was a metaphor for how I would act when stuck in a glass box of emotions like Ron Burgundy.  I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve.  I wear it in my chesticle, where it belongs and where the Lord of Hosts intended it to be when he drew out the blueprints for my body.

There is not a third reason, I lied about that.

As I got older I contemplated on what was initially a joke and simple observation but it has taken on a meaning of it’s own.  Or not.  I have probably given it meaning and to me it has become a symbol that I take seriously now.  It’s a symbol of strength and reliability.  Now that my father has died, it’s meaning has matured and amplified.  I’m the head of my family now and I am starting a family with Sonia.  Iron Man is not invincible, but strong.  Iron.  Followed by man.  To me this means acknowledge the feeling and human part of my personality, avoiding the pompous idea that I’m an invincible superhero or a martyr, neglecting myself while being everything for everyone else. There is a man behind the iron and that should always be remembered.

It’s his heart that powers the suit.  It’s his mind that powers the idea.

Random thought complete.

Mark IV

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A foreign but promising land.

When I was younger, I often felt frustrated toward others when they did not share my passion for things, dismissing them as apathetic or shallow.  One of my best friends, Brandon, should have little trouble recalling those days, regularly hanging out with a Jesus Freak and pseudo-philosopher that studied anything and everything aside from the ordinary things that most 16-23 year olds enjoy.  I now understand how wrong that was to be so judgmental and dismissive.  A week into grief, into this foreign landscape, finding myself struck with such vivid and lucid visuals that it almost distorts my awareness of the real world, causing me to blankly stare and zone out, I understand that people cannot go where I go.  It is not their journey, the footprints that carve out this path are mine and that is how it should be.

No doubt others have experienced this walk before but I don’t expect others to come with me.  They simply can’t if they haven’t experienced it.  And that’s ok.  I don’t need to hear “I’m sorry”, “Sorry for your loss” or other well intentioned but well-worn phrases, ones that used to anger me because I thought they were a lazy ‘quick fix’ people used to escape the awkwardness or discomfort of a situation — in this case, grief.  I know people mean well and thank you for the support but I know I will be ok, that I will learn from this and change irrevocably because of this.  Grief does not need a cure, indeed there isn’t one.  I don’t need to hear about closure; one of the first things I have noticed a great many people talk about is healing and closure in the aftermath of a tragedy.  Healing and closure will come in due time and I have no interest in rushing either of those.  What is healthy is to fully feel and work through my grief.  Nor is time a cure.  Time can, however, bring perspective, wisdom….growth….laying on a mantle of inner strength and peace, helping me to continue to be open to life.

Sometimes I feel nothing.  Sometimes I cry with intensity that surprises even me.  Other times I feel incredibly optimistic or angry.  Sometimes I feel so sad that I almost cannot breathe.  It’s cyclical and somewhat unpredictable but it’s movement and I’m moving in a generally forward direction.  It’s a kaleidoscope of beauty and ugliness, filled with tests of character vs. habit and learning how to apply what you’ve learned and the impressions left on you by that person in your daily life.  I referenced a light my father kindled in my heart in earlier posts and it was no exaggeration nor was it an attempt to be poetic.  It’s a very literal description, the best I can do to explain his impact on me.  It’s a light that was never fully realized until he was gone, and I think that is the nature of it, it’s the nature of a great mentor’s influence (and blessed am I that I can call him my father).  He was cremated today.

I talk to him everyday.  Perhaps I am talking to nothing.  Perhaps not.  It’s irrelevant to me because in doing so, my memories of my father remain fresh and I feel connected to him.  I only knew him as my dad and I am ok with that.  Others knew him in a different light but I know that all of us may joyfully cite, reminisce, and reflect on common threads that were characteristically consistent in his many relationships with others.  His selflessness.  His compassion.  His optimism.  His discipline and inner strength.  His inner peace.  His humor.  His thirst for adventure.  His honor.  I think it’s uncommon in today’s world that a man possesses honor.  My father did.  Christ, am I so proud of him.  He was not perfect by any means but his spirit shone through regardless of the lens held up to him.  That’s beautiful to me.  That’s something to aspire to, something to achieve in my own way so that at the moment of my own death when asked, “Did you love and were you loved?”  I can answer with a contented and resounding “Yes.”

Dad-entry

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