happy birthday, dad

Processed with VSCOcam with a4 preset“you be the sun and i’ll be the moon.
just let your light come shining through
and when the night comes, just like the moon
i’ll shine that light right back to you.”

these words always make me think of my dad. he was loving and good and selfless and was always happy to let the people he loved shine – especially his children.
today is my dad’s birthday and while i’m focusing on being positive and thinking about how much i loved (love) him and how much he loved me i can’t help but miss him. no matter what was going on in my life or in his life i never once doubted or questioned his love for me. it was constant.

i was trying to think of a story to share about my dad and this is the first one that came to mind:

when i was younger i made a dumb choice – it was thoughtless and selfish and just so dumb. but i hurt and embarrassed myself and my family. i remember at the time thinking that my parents would never forgive me. they were hurt and disappointed. we had a huge field behind my house where we gardened and raised animals. one afternoon i was working in the garden with my dad and he said he wanted to talk to me about what had happened and the choices i had made. he was so serious and i was petrified.

he told me about a time when he was younger when he’d really messed up and how disappointed his dad had been at him. he told me how his father (my dear grandfather) didn’t speak to him for almost 7 years. i was so shocked and terrified that he was in some roundabout way getting ready to tell him that that was why he wasn’t going to talk to me anymore or something crazy. i stopped what i was doing and just stood, leaning against a rake, staring at my dad with a knot in my stomach waiting for the horrible conclusion to this story. and he stopped working too and looked me in the eye and very softly said, “the reason i’m telling you this is because need to know now that that could never happen to us. no matter what happens.”

he always let me know how important i was to him. even when my brother and sister chose to distance themselves from him we remained close. i’ll always be grateful i was there holding his hand as he quietly left this life. later, as i was going through his belongings i realized he’d saved every card, photo, letter and post card i’d ever sent him, along with things from my siblings and cousins and friends.

i’ve said, “i love you, dad” at least a million times in my life and many more inside my heart. the night he passed away as i was falling asleep at my cousin’s house i could still feel his hand in mine as it had been constantly for the previous weeks. and sometimes i still feel it. i know that death is the only thing that could keep him away and i’m so grateful for the knowledge that death is not the end.

i was trying to think of something to do on his birthday to honor his life and everything i thought of seemed so… not enough. so today i’m making and sending care packages to my siblings and trying to send some of his love back out into the world.

happy birthday, dad. i love you.

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