One year ago today I received a phone call that changed my life forever. My mother called me sniffling and holding back tears; a voice that immediately told me something was wrong. "Mom? Is everything ok?" "No... (my name)... Your dad is dead." It's one of those memories that most folks will have at one time or another; a memory that is difficult for nearly everyone who goes through it.
Today I woke up early and watched the sunrise. I thought about my dad's last morning on earth. He'd gone for an early morning run and then went off to a bird hunting competition (that he won by a mere 3 seconds). It was after his last hunting round of the day, on his way back to the truck, he had a heart attack and died. A year later I found myself stronger than ever before but lacking a primary figure in my life.
Losing anyone close to you will bring about change. Whether you liked them or not your life will be forever different. For those folks who were especially close to those who take on the ghost, life will change in bigger ways. All that's left are a few tokens from their life and a whole bunch of treasured memories. Luckily, I was one of the fortunate people in this world to have a fantastic dad.
To those of you out there that are parents, soon to be parents, or hopefully one day parents I ask of you a simple favor for your child. Be there. That's it. Be there for your kids. I've been fortunate enough to have lived a life filled with experiences and travel and the people whom I've had the good fortune of meeting along the way that were the most lovely inside and out are those in which had their parents in their life (even if their parents were divorced just being there made huge difference). Give the gift of yourself to your kids. You wont always have time or other things will seem more pressing; but in the grand scheme your kids are more important (baring a true emergency situation!). They are the great future resources of our species; treat them well. That's it. It's something my dad and mom did well. There were always there to help a new soul out.
As the first year passes since his death my gratitude toward my parents has grown astronomically. I'll forever miss him and there will be a small lonely corner of my heart waiting for the day we meet again; but for now life goes on. It's something he would want, to move on further into the future. To push harder as each day passes to carve out the life I dream of. He did it; therefore so can I.
For those of you who have had a parent die recently and feel lost... It will get easier. It will never be the same but as time slowly drags on life will become brighter once again. I didn't believe it myself for awhile there... and there are days when I still question it. Though as each new sunrise comes into my life a bit of hope is sparked; a bit of life comes back. Life goes on might as well try to make the most of it.
Thank you for your time and for allowing my dad one more walk across the stage of the living.
If you're interested here are a few more posts about my dad from the past year.
My dad and Frank Zane
Overall Champion Mr. Sierra Nevada
My Dad looking like a BAMF
My Dad's philosophy on lifting and life
An Irish Funeral Prayer
Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Everything remains as it was.
The old life that we lived so fondly together
is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no sorrow in your tone.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that
we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effort
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because
I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near, just around the corner.
All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting,
when we meet again.
Source: derived from a sermon written by Henry Scott Holland