After log rolling tonight I decided to have a cold beer to start winding down the night. Without really thinking about it I noticed this view:
The bottle opener was a beautiful gift from my great friend Sammi. She’d read the post about having no regrets with my dad and had this made. When it caught my eye tonight I just paused and smiled.
I pulled my phone out and started going through some old pictures of my dad. I was smiling from ear to ear seeing the pictures of his smile as he spent time with the boys and I throughout all the years. Gavin heard me playing a video and came in to watch it with me. As we watched a video of Grandpa Pete spinning the boys in a huge cardboard box I snuggled up with Gavin and started to feel a deep sense of loss.
As we watched it I realized I needed some time alone to just soak in the emotion and appreciate the feeling. My dad is gone and there will be no more memories made with him. One of my best friends in the world will never give me a hug again, call me again, or be there to spend time with me. It’s an incredible loss that causes a lot pain and heartache. I hopped in the shower, still stinky from being in the river log rolling and fired up a song that really helped the tears flow, Terry’s Song by Bruce Springsteen. I stood in the shower, soaked in the lyrics, soaked in the feeling of sadness and loss, and wept quietly. In focusing on the sadness I had one goal, to remind myself of how much I miss Dad. It sounds a little silly, but it reminded me of just what a special guy Dad was. It reminded me of how fortunate I was to have him as my dad. Sadness, but a reminder of an incredible bond and great love shared, so many joyful moments.
Once the song was over I hopped out of the shower and chose a different perspective. I thought about what Dad would want me to be and feel if he were still around. He would want me to be happy to for my friends and family and to be the best possible dad I could be. To do that I need to set my self-focused pain aside and focus on how to be the best dad I could be. I looked back at the past year and thought about what a difference the past 364 days had many. How many times had I ton something a little differently with this newfound appreciation for life in the back of my head? I’m positive he would be proud of how many times I turned his loss into a positive moment or created a new memory specifically because I was inspired by his loss. What a gift! In his passing he’s helped me find a much stronger sense of purpose than I’ve had in the past. This sense of purpose had touched virtually all aspects of my life, from family to work to friends to people I’ve never met. When I think about the impact Dad has had on my life since his passing I am happily surprised. Even in death Dad is helping me to be a better man.
How funny that within the span of less than 30 minutes it’s possible to see the same thing in such different lights? Even with the extreme difference in perspective in both there’s one thing in common… the joy that comes from remembering the love of my father.