Happy Birthday Dad

Today you would have been 79. I've thought about you all day. Each moment at work that I wasn't busy in a project, my thoughts drifted back to you. I wonder if you know today is your birthday. I wonder if you're celebrating. I miss you so much.

Coming back from lunch a song came on the radio that reminded me of you. "You Lift Me Up" by Josh Groban. It made me cry just listening to the words. You have always lifted me up and empowered me to do anything I put my mind to. You were always there to comfort me when I failed and you encouraged me to get up and dust myself off and try again. The unconditional love you have shown me and each of your kids has been immeasurable.

There are so many memories in my thoughts today. The many times you had to yank me up by my ankles when I would put coins, olive pits, ice cubes or other things in my mouth and start to choke. You comforting me when I had to get stiches in my forehead. Running to my aide when I fell off the monkey bars and broke my arm. Drinking chocolate milk and eating pickles while we watched westerns on t.v. Driving me to a boy's house in the neighborhood that I had called "gay" and forcing me to apologize. Teaching me to drive. Escorting me on Homecoming Court. Walking me down the aisle. Officiating my wedding...both times! Then all the things you have meant to me as a grandfather to my son. The Biblical truths that you instilled in him from a very young age. Picking him up from school and offering him a King-size Butterfinger that you had hidden under the seat (away from the watchful eye of Nana!). Playing football with him in the yard and diving for a catch and crashing into the porch and breaking the railing. Dressing up as Santa Claus each year and surprising him with gifts...until the year he said, "hey, Santa has the same wedding ring as Papa!" Going to all of his baseball games and yelling "let's go Zacky!" Also, all the fun trips we took to the beach and to Disney...remember "KFC all the way!" We still laugh about that.

Dad, then I'm sad that you never saw Zack conduct the band. That you won't be there at his graduation, you be around to see him get married or have children. I know you would be a wonderful great-grandfather. Zack loved you so much, Dad. He used to love to make fun of you and immitate your sneezes! I think at some point we will do that again and laugh, but right now it hurts too much to be reminded that you're not with us anymore.

I'm calling mom each day and checking on her. We went back to visit this past weekend and it was so hard. We couldn't believe that it had only been a little over a week since you went to heaven. We both feel like it's been a lifetime. Everything at the house reminds us that you're not there. I walk by your room and expect to see you lying in bed sleeping. I always would stop and look at you for a few minutes to make sure your chest would rise and fall. I wish I would have sat by your bed a few minutes longer that night I was feeding you cereal. I know I told you I would miss you when you were gone, but I'm not sure you really understood. I don't even think I understood how much I would miss you and how bad this would hurt. I know you're in heaven, and you're happy and healthy, but I miss you Dad. There is a deep sadness that cuts to my very soul that I can't seem to shake. Terri found a poem called "The Broken Chain" that puts it so well...she gave it to Mom last night for your birthday. Here's how it goes...

The Broken Chain

We little knew that morning that God was going to call your name.
In life we loved you dearly, in death we do the same.
It broke our hearts to lose you, you did not go alone;
for part of us went with you, the day God called you home.
You left us peaceful memories, your love is still our guide;
and though we cannot see you, you are always at our side.
Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same;
but as God calls us one by one, the Chain will link again.

Mom just cried and cried when she called me and read it to me. I did the same. I haven't slept through the night since you've been gone. I keep feeling like this has all been a bad dream that I will awaken from soon. I'm trying not to be so selfish, for I know heaven is what you've longed for. Just pray for me Dad, dry my tears and wrap your loving arms around me when I'm sad and missing you so much it hurts.

Tonight we're going to your favorite place, the Olive Garden, in honor of your birthday. I guess I should say in memory of your birthday. I'm posting this picture of you that I've looked at so much today...it was on your last birthday. Mom had made you breakfast and set a nice table out on the patio. I wish we could have that day back again.

Happy Birthday Dad...I love you.





3 sweet friends had to say...:

Di-dan said...

Tracey, you are awesome and you have a huge gift for writing. I hope you know that. Keep it up. I absolutely love reading and hearing your thoughts. Hope you got my text message earlier today. You were the first person I prayed for this morning, followed by the rest of your family, because I knew it would be a hard day. Thanks for your insight. You are going to make it, I promise. I wish I were there so I could hug you! Talk to you soon. MUCH LOVE.

puddins said...

What a moving, touching and loving tribute to your dad, Tracey. Thank you for sharing it on your blog and allowing us to read it.

Lovingly..........MKW

Ang baylis said...

Oh, Tracey,
This was the sweetest, just the sweetest post ever! You had me crying sitting in Caribou Coffee sitting in front of a nice fireplace in 2008. I know exactly how you feel because it's been 3 years today. My mind has been wandering at work, and I'm sad, yet happy at the same time! You love your Dad just like me! You and I are both blessed girls!

Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving the sweet comment. I will be back here to read more of your posts, but only had time to read one on my lunch hour!

Blessings to you, Tracey!
Love,
Angie xoxo

 
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