Over the past month and a half my beard has continued to grow and I notice it often. Many times it is a little itchy, sometimes it tickles my nose. I catch myself rubbing it, twisting it, and tugging at it from time to time. In each of those moments when my conscious thought catches up with my subconscious reactions I pause. When I pause I sometimes smile… sometimes I cringe… Each time there are two thoughts that pop into my head.
The last time I completely shaved my face was the morning of Dad’s funeral. A few days after that I made the decision to keep the beard as a reminder of a promise that I made to myself. My dad was never big on beards (I’m pretty sure it was because he couldn’t grow one!), this facial hair is not symbolic of him.
From the time that Dad was dying to the day of his funeral to many times since I’ve gotten a lot of feedback about my blog. There’ve been many people who said that it helped them express their own feelings, it showed them that others felt the same, it brought them back wonderful memories, and it helped them through the process of grieving. All of this from something that I’ve been writing selfishly to help myself be more happy in life, for sharing emotions, thoughts, and memories that have helped me deal with the loss of my dad.
At some point around the funeral I heard the call of what I needed to do. I’ve started writing a book about losing my dad, some of the life lessons that he shared with me, and some of our most important values that I want to share with my boys. My dad helped me learn to deal with his death by the way he dealt with his dad’s death. He taught me his way, it is up to me to help teach my boys his way. Whether or not this book ever turns into something for the public or remains something in the libraries of my boys, it is something that I must write… Both for my boys and for me.
When I pause and am aware of my beard, there are two thoughts that pop into my head. The first is a vision of my dad smiling at me, the smile is a cross of his proud smile and the smile of him giving me a hard time. The second thought is a question to myself… “Have I made progress on my book lately?” When I have been working on it, physically or mentally, I smile. When I’ve decided to waste my time on things, like social media or TV, I cringe.
And therein lies the reason for my beard. I will not shave it off until I’m at least halfway done with my book (or longer). Every single time I look in the mirror I’m reminded that I am choosing how to spend my minutes. I can’t run from it, it’s right there in front of me. And that’s why I’m thankful for reason behind my beard today… It is a constant reminder of what I must accomplish, my decision to use my time on this earth for the right things, and it reminds me of Dad.