Today would have been my dad’s 61st birthday. Of course, we are going to get ice cream tonight to remember him. He wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
Five years ago I wrote a post for his birthday, not having any idea that I would only have two more birthdays with him.
I’m going to repost what I wrote because it was written from a place of innocence. (Obviously … read the last line.) Little did I know I’d write a real eulogy for him two years later.
My dad turns 56 today.
Want to know a secret?
I have the world’s best dad.
Some might think I’m exaggerating (especially if you read this post) but I’m not.
He’s the best. I’ll tell you why.
My dad made breakfast for our family every day. And this wasn’t just a quick bowl of cereal … it was a full on three course breakfast. Every single day. Wednesdays were egg days. Friday was coffee cake. And don’t even get me started on Sunday Morning Breakfast. (WOO!)
When we were little, we used to get on his back and play with his hair. Then we’d say, “Do pushups, Dad!” and our dad – obviously the strongest man on the planet – would do pushups with us on his back.
At night when we were tired he would carry us, all four of us, up the stairs at one time.
Every night he would sit on the landing between our bedrooms and read books to us. He’d read until he dozed off and we’d have to yell at him to wake him up.
He makes the best ice cream in the world. Seriously. My current favorite is Coffee Toffee. I’m a diehard fan of his Mint Chip and the Oreo is pretty amazing too.
When it would frost when I was in high school, I’d walk out the door for school and without fail, I’d find my windows scraped and the car toasty warm.
Speaking of snow, whenever some fell – even just a dusting – he was out shoveling the sidewalk. But he didn’t stop at the edge of our yard. Often he’d shovel the whole block. Just because.
He loves my mom without condition … the way I hope my husband loves me someday.
I could go on. But this is starting to sound like a eugoogoly so I’ll stop.
Happy birthday, Daddy.
I love you.
Sometimes I miss him so much it physically hurts. He’s supposed to be here.
One of the biggest changes that I’ve experienced with the grief is that I’m not afraid of dying. Death is not the end. I used to be paralyzed with fear when I thought about facing the death of my parents, knowing that it was going to happen someday. But death no longer has that stranglehold on me anymore.
I have a much looser hold on this life because it’s not all there is … it’s just a distorted reflection of what’s to come.
And because suddenly there’s something tangible and understandable to look forward to heaven for. I cannot wait for that reunion.