I came across this photo just a couple of days ago. I always knew it existed but I hadn’t been ready to see it. Now having done so it’s like a rock has been thrown into the waters. When it hits the bottom it brings up the dirt and clouds the waters. It’s all part of the healing process. And really everything is fine. The silt will resettle.
I do remember this day. Even if I choose not to think about it often. I remember unfolding my notes that I had made to eulogize my father. Notes my partner had kindly printed out for me at the local Kinko’s because he knew I was too exhausted to do it myself. I wasn’t sure how I sounded or if my words would even come close to doing my father justice. But here’s what I was saying when that picture was taken:
When I was a little boy I always worshipped my dad. I couldn’t get enough of him. I can still remember staying at a cousin’s place when I was about 5 years old and my aunt sensed there was something wrong. She correctly assessed the situation and asked me “Do you miss your dad?” And I nodded my head. Within 15 minutes, my dad was there to come bring me home.
My dad accomplished a lot in his 92 years and he worked as a self-employed jack of all trades. His last and likely longest line of work being that of a courier driver for Arrowspeed Delivery. And when I had a day off school, I’d often ride in the car with dad as he made his deliveries. He’d proudly show me around and EVERYONE was nice to him. EVERYONE loved him. And that’s just the type of man he was. He made everyone feel good. He had an impact.
But I also remember the impact I had on him. When I was about 8 years old I was playing while waiting for dad to drive me to school. And I was running around and jumping off this ledge that was probably about 3 feet high. Dad didn’t like that, fearing I’d get hurt with the 3 foot drop, and he very firmly told me to stop. As a little boy I was thoroughly perturbed at this. And I didn’t speak to him on the drive to school. And instead of my customary “Have a good day” as I left him, I silently made my way to class. Dad would have a horrible day afterward as he felt terrible about how things were left between us. And I vowed then and there to do better by him. It was an early lesson in empathy for me. My dad taught me probably life’s most valuable lesson that day — that my words, my actions have an impact on others. Dad knew that lesson very very well. He chose his words and actions well and he made everyone feel better for having known him.
Dad’s memory is being honoured today. To honour him forever, let’s all remember and strive to leave everyone we encounter happier than when we first met them.