Saturday, October 13, 2012


My Dad has been gone for 29 years.  On what would have been his 83rd birthday I realized that in the last year I passed a sad milestone; at age 57 I have lived more than half of my life without him.  As the oldest of five,  I was the last to hit this milestone.   
Dad only saw his two oldest get married.  Mine were the only two of his 12 grandchildren he ever met.  My ten nieces and nephews will only ever know Dad through our stories.

I've never been back to his gravesite in all these years.  It's not that I don't care, but I was never one for that kind of thing.  But I think about Dad a lot, especially when we are together as a family,  times he would have really enjoyed.  He had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh.  I wonder what books he would be reading now, what he would think about this presidential election;  what he would think about me as a person; if he ever would have forgiven me for those awful teen years.

Dad would have appreciated some of my ER tales having learned an awful lot as a medic in Korea.  He was a pharmacist who worked many years in a small neighborhood pharmacy back when it was called a "drug store" and he a "druggist".  He knew his patients well, and they loved him.  Everyone did.  He was the only genuine "people person" I have ever met.  I would love to know what he would have thought about the entitled a**holes, the chronic abusers of the system, the narcotic entrepreneurs that would now occupy his neighborhood if his little drug store wasn't now a real estate office.

I hope he would be proud of the adults his kids have become and the kinds of kids we have raised.  I know he would have loved to see those grandkids' school plays, learn to ride bikes, play sports, graduate, and become adults as much as he enjoyed those events as we kids grew up.

My brothers and I are lucky that our mom, at 80, is in good health and independent.  She has a more active social life than I do.  It wasn't easy for her though, having to go to work full time in her middle years just when the youngest of their children was ready to leave the house.  I know Mom misses him a lot.  She never got the chance for that "re-do" that I enjoy now, when the kids are on their own and it is just two people again.  The final sad milestone will be when, in a few months, my mom will have been without Dad longer than she was married to him.

Two of us have lived longer on this planet than Dad did although we don't talk about this, my brothers and I.  I'm sure we have all thought about it;  I was a little freaked the year I turned 54.   It's not that we don't talk about Dad, we do all the time.  We just don't talk about that particular hurdle.  We will never know exactly what caused Dad's sudden death, but I can assume that driving to work, turning off the car and simply ceasing to exist was not something that even remotely crossed his mind that day.  I can't speak for my brothers, but I try to mitigate the risk factors as much as I can.  We all live pretty active lifestyles perhaps keeping that fact in mind.  We were all athletes, and are in relatively good health although some of us might be carrying a few extra pounds.   But there are no guarantees in this life aside from the obvious, that no one gets out alive.

Which is why, I guess, we should enjoy every day above ground.  Happy birthday, Dad.