When you lose someone who is so much a part of you it never hurts less, eventually, your memories just shift to happier ones. Anniversary's, holidays, birthdays and special moments are always a little empty.
I tend to hibernate a bit this week every year. I'll smile all day in public then at some point, I take a shot of Peach Schnapps -AHHH - "JUST... PEACHY!" I say, (his common response to everything including that shot) and chalk it up to one more year I miss him.
On this day more than others, I wonder, "Would he be proud of the woman I've become?"
I ponder questions like; Would he think I look like him? Are all those little "29" symbols I see signs from him? Does he like who I date? Would he think I'm funny? Do I have more penguins than he did? Would he realize how much we're alike? Would we go to baseball games together? Did Hamms Beer ever taste much better?
All these years later, I now know that I couldn't have saved my father...although I wish I had. And many of you couldn't save someone you love either. I can't help but think, maybe they save us?
William Wallace once said, "Every man dies. Not every man really lives."
In death, we learn how to live. I've said that to many of you. We start living when we embrace what's real; Family, Friends, Purpose and God. "Living" to me means never letting someone you care about go untold. Exhausting your gifts, giving back and sharing a little laughter and kindness with everyone you meet. Leave people a little happier than when you met them...that's a good way to live.
Fuzzy - he never took himself too seriously, he gave everyone a nickname and his gift was making anyone laugh. But I can't hear his laugh in my head anymore....and that's why this year is especially hard. What I can hear him saying is, "Pumpkin, you can't get to home without hitting all the bases." And I know he's right. I hear, "There's scotch and cookies in the hallway" from his hospital bed, and I laugh, and I'm grateful he was my dad.
To all fathers out there, you don't have to be a perfect dad, mine wasn't. Make them laugh and let them know you're proud. Be present and simply say, "I love you"...because sometimes just that is more than enough for us to hold onto always.
Today, I'm incredibly thankful for friends and family like you who are a part of my story in this life.
We are all so blessed. In our short time on this earth we must love, learn and to be kind to one another. Let go of anger, resentment, greed, and selfish behaviors. There's no moment worth being less than nice to another living being or to yourself.
I'll leave you with this, which was on the back of my dad's funeral card that I keep, and pretty much sums him up...
AN IRISH TRIBUTE
God Then Made Man,
The Italian for Music and Art,
The French for Fine Food,
The German for Intelligence,
The Swedes their Beauty,
The Jew for Religion.
And On and On Until
He looked at What
He had Created and Said,
This is All Very Fine but
No One is Having Any Fun.
"I Guess I'll Have To Make Me An IRISHMAN."
Slainte Dad...my Guardian Penguin. I miss you.