Today marks the 40th anniversary of my dad’s death. While I have no regrets because this is what was meant to be, there were times in my life when I thought, this moment would have been even better with dad here.
I know you are thinking, “Oh, like at your graduations from high school and college?” And of course you are thinking, “At your wedding and the births of your two boys?” And while those answers are correct, it’s not them that I feel I missed out on.
Dad died when I was 8 years old. I wish I had known him in an adult to adult relationship. In my partying years, I wished that I could have had a few drinks with him and talked politics and religion. In my thirties, I wanted to talk to him about my struggles as a mother, spouse, and teacher. I wish I had his advice in my late thirties, when so many big issues came to a head around here. It would have been nice in my forties to have him reassure me that my boys were going to turn out just fine and I shouldn’t worry about them. Even today, as all his grandchildren are now adults, it would be nice to see him sitting around and having a cocktail with them during the holidays.
Now don’t get me wrong. I have no regrets. My mom ended up meeting a wonderful man when I was pregnant with Robbie, and she married him when I was pregnant with Clint. Clarence has been the grandfather that I am not sure my dad would have been. The kids still talk about his walks he’d take them on, and they have many good memories. And Jeff has had such a great relationship with Clarence. They have spent many hours fishing together and working on projects together. And I have loved Clarence as a father and grandfather. He is the most kind-hearted man and he has been so good to my mom, spoiling her rotten, which she deserves after raising and supporting us on her own for nearly 20 years.
If there was any regret that I have, it’s that I could not step back and forth into parallel worlds: one with Mom and Clarence and one with Mom and Dad. That has only happened in my dreams, and I am thankful for that little glimpse into the “what might have been” world.
Today I remember my father. And I remind myself that he is with me at all times, and there are times when I truly feel his presence, and I give thanks for that as well.
Spend some time being appreciative of the people in your life today, and recognize that the people who have left this world are still with you, and you need only stop and breathe their presence into the space around you.
Peace and JOY!