Tuesday, September 22, 2015
It's hard to imagine it has been a month since Dad passed away. It's even harder to imagine the months that stretch ahead without him.
This morning, on the way into work, a random song came on the radio (already I can't recall the specific tune) that took me back -- back to my childhood, back to those uneventful and seemingly irrelevant, unimportant moments. Those moments you don't realize until much later that are in fact the very fabric of who you are. Those moments that mean so much. Those moments that ARE your childhood and the basis for where you've gone and who you have become.
Dad was such a integral part of so many of those childhood moments. This morning I was whisked back to the late 1970s. Any given night. Dad would have to work at night and would willingly drag me along to Raven. Sometimes we'd settle into his office: the radio would be playing while I was pounding away on the ancient (even then) typewriter while he worked on various tasks. He'd always allow me to get a pop from the machine, and in special instances, I'd even get a chuckwagon! Other times, I would lace up my roller skates while Dad would flip on the lights, turn on the air compressor (because who knew when I'd feel like stopping and blasting the "air jets"), and while I skated around the plant he would crank the music up over the loud speaker. Music I'm sure he detested but played because he knew *I* liked it. It was one of those songs that was on the radio this morning. It was one of those songs that had me standing in the middle of Raven, Industries circa 1979. It was one of those songs that had me sobbing on the way into work this morning.
I know that some day it will be these memories that give me comfort and bring me peace and joy. Right now, though, it's these memories that create an ache in my heart and soul that make it hard for me to breathe.
Below is the letter I wrote to Dad shortly after he passed. It was read at his funeral. I wish I'd had more time. More time to make it more eloquent. More time to include more memories. More time..... I miss you Dad. I love you.
A couple months ago around Father’s Day, you were sitting on my couch, and I had just seen a post on Facebook that stated there were some questions that everybody should ask their Dads. I pulled out the list and ran through every question with you. What’s funny, though, is that I don’t remember a vast majority of what was asked or answered. What I do remember, though, was your response to two of the many.
I was reading through the list and came across, “How would you describe your wife?” Your reply? “The love of my life.” The other? “What are you most proud of?” You stated simply, “My family.” You reiterated those very sentiments mere hours before you went Home to be with your Father. Those short, simple statements, summed up perfectly why you lived your life the way you did and what it was you valued.
Day in and day out you proved how important your family was to you. You worked hard for over four decades for the same company and proudly served your country for over three decades in order to provide an amazing life for us. Even when the years were lean, we never wanted for anything. And somehow, we could even manage some “special” family vacations: trips down to see David at Ft. Sill (I don’t know who the h@ll's driving in the morning, but it sure the h@ll isn’t going to be me!); cross-country treks to California to see the relatives (the front seats of that Tempo really did allow for some leg room in the back!); and so many more. Later in life there were trips to the Cosnap Mountains (who would have ever thought a mountain range could be that big?!) and several trips to Europe. There’s no doubt you definitely traveled lots of klommitters creating precious memories along the way. Memories your entire family will cherish.
When we were at home, though, there was always an abundance of laughter and love in our house. You and Mom created an environment that fostered that. You two showed us all how a true partnership worked. Your marriage was an example of selfless love, kindness, patience, respect, and understanding. AND compromise….. That atmosphere invited people in, and while we were growing up we always had a house full of friends who were more like extended family. It was a fun, relaxed house thanks to you and Mom, and we were always allowed to be who we were knowing always that we were loved unconditionally.
Dad, I will miss, we ALL will miss you: your gentle nature, your tender heart, your impressive intellect, your quick wit, your sense of humor, and so much more.
Dad? If you were proud of us? It was due in no small part to the example you set and the home you helped create. I told you just days ago that you are the greatest man I’ve ever known and that I am proud to call you Dad. I pray that right now you can look into my heart, see into my soul, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that truer words have never been spoken.
I love you Dad. Too much.