Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Legacy: Twenty Years Later and Still Going Strong

1984 - Granny & Pop's Farm (Senior Honors Night)

Next month, a silent milestone will occur, which will be noticed by very few…aside from myself and other family members.  Twenty years later, my dad’s legacy is still going strong in all of us.  Rather than remembering that single, devastating day, I'd prefer to celebrate all the days that came before.  For every day that I woke up with the comfort of knowing that he was just a phone call away, my hope is that for those of you, who still have that opportunity, take advantage of it.  When you think you've said all there is to say, say a little more.  A time may come when you wish you'd said "I love you" just one more time...  

Dear Dad, 

I love you and I miss talking to you.  I wish you could see all the many blessings that have happened in my life over the past twenty years.  I wish you could have met your future grandchildren.  You would be so proud.  I'm grateful that your absence in my life isn't as severe as it was in the beginning, and that I reached a point of peace a long time ago.  So many life lessons followed...lessons I needed to face and learn on my own.  Lessons you would have tried to shield me from, protect me...but I came to realize as a parent, there is less protection and more preparing involved.  Because we cannot protect our children from the world.  But if we're lucky, we can help influence their paths and choices and better prepare them for life and that single day that changes their life forever.  When we have to leave.

You were my rock, Dad.  A wonderful, yet flawed, kind and generous person.  I see now just how much you struggled in your life and I still stand in wonder that you made it look so effortless and as you often said "offered it up to the Lord."

I especially wish that you had lived to see me graduate from college, land a great job, and move ahead.  I know I contributed my fair share of worries that resulted in more gray hair for you.  It can't have been easy knowing you were going to die, then seeing your typically practical daughter quit her full time job, refinance a house, and go back to school full time.  I want you to know that it worked out okay.  It was was one of the best choices I've made in my life and certainly one that forever changed the direction of where life would take me.
I published a book and shared some of the less happy times in my childhood and some bad choices later in life.  I want you to know that I remember the good times too.  And I still know how to bait my own hook.  

I also still have a healthy fear of electric and wiring, while still maintaining a somewhat mechanical curiosity to explore how things work.  Seeing you fix absolutely everything inspired me to repurpose antiques and jewelry to create new stuff.  I wish I could say I retained your knowledge of plumbing and could effortlessly solder copper pipe, watching for the silver to evaporate into the joint...signaling a good seal.  What I can tell you is that I remember watching you, I remember being loved by you, I remember being proud to be your daughter...and I continue to share and try to model your kindness with my children, with my friends, and family members...and that I discovered a long time ago how to measure true self worth.  And Dad, you were priceless.  I love you.


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