Day 256 – Thankful for Reminders and Reflections of My Dad

Dad’s still hanging tight in the hospital as his body works on healing.  Everything is still status quo, he needs to keep getting his body stronger over the next few days.  In a way I’m glad he’s not awake, he’d be going absolutely stir crazy by now!

Throughout the course of the past few days it’s funny how my focus has changed.  I’m looking at everyday things, sayings, and the like and seeing my dad and his impact, his legacy, in them.  Before Monday morning I would have looked right past them and not thought twice.  Now I am not only seeing them, I’m seeking them out, finding ways to help create those moments, and taking time to soak them in.  In a crazy way I feel closer to him now than I have been.  Maybe closer isn’t quite the right word…  Maybe I’ve been more aware of the profound impact that he’s had on shaping who I am and who many of us are…

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Some of these moments are reminders of my dad.  Others are reflections of him in me, and in others.  Occasionally they are pictures, they are words, they are actions, they are looks, they are embraces, they are funny moments, there’s only two things they have in common…  They show me that Dad is with me always and they remind me of his love.

Here are some of those reminders:

  • My Aunt Renee, after a hug, telling everyone that I “hug like Peter.”
  • My cousin Brad sending me a message and used a phrase Dad always uses when I’m hurting, “I’m here bud.”
  • Donuts…  I’ve eaten more donuts in the past few days than I’ve eaten in a very long time.  It was a tradition for us to have them every Saturday morning, and we’ll be doing that again tomorrow morning, complete with chocolate milk.
  • Spending time in my workshop tonight with my boys.
  • Having lunch with Nick, Becky, and Uncle Kevin and at times forgetting that it was Kevin and thinking it was Dad.
  • Every time I’ve used the word “Dude.”  Those of you who know me understand that I use it often, to me it is a term of endearment, it means I love and respect you, and I learned it from my dad.
  • Loud sneezes.  Dad’s are the loudest and have a couple of extra syllables behind them.  I used to think it was crazy, but then, after a long while, I realized that it is just way more fun!
  • Spending time with Uncle Steve and as we wrapped up some time together he squeezed my shoulder the way my dad does and told me how much he appreciates my upbeat personality.
  • My father in law, Ken, holding my hand and consoling me.
  • The song “The Nights” by Avicii.   Listen to the lyrics once. Click here to watch it and you’ll understand.  This is what reminded me to stay focused on my family during this difficult time, keep them happy and safe, keep living life, don’t let it slip away.  Quick side note, as I watched the music video while typing my blog Gavin snuggled up with me to watch it.  As I tucked him in tonight he told me that it is now one of his favorite songs and it has great life lessons in it.  “Live your life doing good.  Have lots of fun in life.”  It’s inspired me to add the lyrics at the end of this post. 🙂
  • So many old pictures of Dad and all of us from way back in the day.  There’s a reason that Old Style remains a favorite of mine for purely nostalgic reasons…  IMG_9005
  • Listening to Dad’s brothers give each other a hard time and laugh the whole time together.  It’s the same humor that Nick, Dad & I share regularly.
  • Random conversations with random people at random times.  Whether it’s helping a little girl find a way to sneak in hitting an elevator button to going out of the way to thank someone for something that is so common that they aren’t often thanked, I feel my dad’s presence.
  • Handling situations the way that my dad would if our places were reversed.  There have been a handful of times in which I’ve recently reached outside of my comfort zone because I know what Dad would do and the results have been amazing.  I may be giving of myself in those spots, but I’m understanding that the rewards he receives through his actions are much greater.
  • Getting messages of love, prayer, hope, and memories from his many, many friends and family.
  • Becky, in the middle of a difficult moment, pointing out something very important that needed to be taken care of.  I had noticed it and wanted to avoid it, there was already too much on my plate, I didn’t want to add anything.  As soon as she pointed it out I heard my dad’s voice telling me that I knew what I had to do.  I did it, and while it’s been a little extra work the rewards have been mind blowing.
  • Running to the movie theater to pick up popcorn for us to eat as a family as we all sat on the the couch to watch a movie at home tonight.

This list is not all inclusive, it’s just that there have been so many little things and moments recently.  It’s crazy to think, but I started keeping a mental list of all of those reminders and reflections in my head and it feels like I’ve forgotten many of them.  So many things that have reminded me of Dad, so many ways in which he is reflected through my actions.

Dad, thank you for living your life in a way that you truly have left a mark on the world.   A mark that is so clear that even when you’re not physically here with me, I know your presence is always with me, always in me.

I love you bud, please keep getting stronger.

Thanks!!!

The Nights by Avicii
Hey, once upon a younger year
When all our shadows disappeared
The animals inside came out to play
Hey, when face to face with all our fears
Learned our lessons through the tears
Made memories we knew would never fade
One day my father—he told me,
“Son, don’t let it slip away”
He took me in his arms, I heard him say,
“When you get older
Your wild life will live for younger days
Think of me if ever you’re afraid.”
He said, “One day you’ll leave this world behind
So live a life you will remember.”
My father told me when I was just a child
These are the nights that never die
My father told me
When thunder clouds start pouring down
Light a fire they can’t put out
Carve your name into those shinning stars
He said, “Go venture far beyond the shores.
Don’t forsake this life of yours.
I’ll guide you home no matter where you are.”
One day my father—he told me,
“Son, don’t let it slip away.”
When I was just a kid I heard him say,
“When you get older
Your wild life will live for younger days
Think of me if ever you’re afraid.”
He said, “One day you’ll leave this world behind
So live a life you will remember.”
My father told me when I was just a child
These are the nights that never die
My father told me
These are the nights that never die
My father told me

 

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