October 17th marked my 44th trip around the sun and the 25th year that my dad’s sun hasn’t shined. Hard to believe it’s been that long.
For a long time after he died I refused to celebrate my birthday on that day. Instead I celebrated on his birthday, October 24. But then I realized that regardless of the bad memories I had surrounding that day, my mother still had one memory that remained beautiful and it was one she shared with my dad. For that reason I chose to honor that day again – the day that my parents welcomed me into their lives.
It’s still a bittersweet day for me. Too many haunted memories mingle with the birthday wishes. Being the age that my father was when his life was cut short, makes the pain a bit sharper. I realize exactly how young he was and how much he left behind.
The past 25 years have given him 5 grandsons. 5 grandsons that he will never take fishing from the Moon River bridge like he did with me. 5 grandsons that will never know how much he loved to read comic books and Louis L’Amour westerns. 5 grandsons who will never know how his kind blue eyes and how they disappeared when he smiled – bedroom eyes he called them.
I see parts of him in each of his boys.
Tyler, the oldest of my brother’s boys, used to talk about my dad as if he knew him. He used to say things like “back when I was older I used to go fishing”. I believe in reincarnation…who knows. Tyler is quiet and stubborn like my dad.
Joshua, Dave’s middle son, is also stubborn and a bit reserved at times. He is in art school – my dad was an artist.
Then there’s Luke, Dave’s youngest and perhaps, spunkiest. He’s a little guy like my dad was but he struts around like a giant. I hear stories about my dad as a little kid and how he would carry his bottle around in his back pocket when he was old enough to be rid of the bottle – but he carried it with attitude. Luke doesn’t walk around with a bottle but he does have a pocketful of attitude with him at all times.
Then there are my two boys, Jacob and Nicholas.
Jacob reminds me a lot of my dad. He loves taking things apart and seeing how they work. I used to do the same thing with my dad. Daddy could fix anything and Jacob is my Go To repairman at home. anyone.
Nicholas loves to draw. And while I’m sure he gets a lot of that from Warner, I like to think my dad had some say in the matter too. And when Nick smiles, his eyes disappear…just like Daddy’s.
Maybe this is daddy’s way of sticking around – living in each of his boys. It’s comforting to me that when I look at each boy I can see my dad peeking out reminding me that he never really went that far away at all.