Posts Tagged ‘parents’

Today would have been my father’s 86th birthday. He died far too early (in my opinion) back in 1991. It is said that every person dies twice; first physically, when you pass away and second when the memory of you fades from other people’s minds or whenever all those who knew you die too.

I can assure you that my Dad’s memory is very much alive and well in those of us that were lucky enough to have known him. What does sometimes make me sad is when I think about those who never got a chance to know him or who were too young to remember. That includes two of my sons and my daughter-in-law. Fortunately, my stepfather has ‘stepped’ into that void and filled it remarkably well.

The most important lessons I learned when my father passed away so early and quickly are that life is fleeting, to cherish every moment, and absolutely tell others how much you care and love them. Don’t wait, don’t think it’s weird or corny, don’t be shy, and certainly don’t feel embarrassed. You never know how many chances you will get or if another opportunity will ever present itself. There is no time like the present to express love to someone you care about.

Happy birthday, Dad. I love you and miss you very, very much. Rick

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On my trip to Indiana on Thursday afternoon, I saw a billboard along the highway that said something to the effect of the following:

“Being a dad, life’s highest rank.”

While I have no problem with promoting the importance of being a good parent, this billboard left out half the equation – being a mom easily holds an equal (if not greater) ranking in the raising and nurturing of a child.

I did not get a chance to see who ran the advertisement, though my guess is that it was a military or quasi-military organization because the father was in his uniform and it’s reference to rank. Given that approximately two million women are serving our nation right now at home and overseas, the billboard’s message seemed woefully short-sighted and downright sexist to me.

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Happy Father’s Day!

Just wanted to wish a Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, stepdads, grand dads, and dads to be out here, especially those who are loving and responsible parents. Here is a weblink to a post I wrote last week about my dad and stepdad on the 20th anniversary of my father’s passing.

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No, I am not talking about when Sargent Pepper taught the band to play. I wish I was writing about something as mundane as that.

The phone call is as fresh in my mind today as it was two decades ago. You always wonder when the phone rings at odd hours of the day. This was no exception — 5:30 a.m. When I picked up the phone, I heard Mom’s distraught voice was on the other end from the emergency room in Indianapolis – some 500+ miles from our home in Maryland.

My Dad had a heart attack during the night and the doctors were working on him as we spoke. Sadly, within a few minutes, one of the attending physicians told Mom that he had passed away. I will never, ever forget hearing that over the phone or Mom’s devastated reaction from the news. Until then, while obviously upset, I think she was holding out a glimmer of hope.

The subsequent week was a blur to me. I know I spoke at the funeral and every one said it was great, but darned if I can remember what is was I said. I also know it really sunk in for the first time during the funeral when everyone was reciting the Lord’s Prayer — “Our Father, who art in heaven…”

Even today, it all seems a bit surreal. At times I feel like he’s going to walk through the door like he was marooned on a deserted island  or on an excessively long vacation — at other times logic sets in, especially when visiting his gravesite.

My Dad was a good man and I still thing it was vastly unfair for him to be taken barely a year into his retirement after 40 years of excellent and dedicated work. However, I have been blessed by one aspect of his passing, a terrific stepfather.

My Mom remarried four years after Dad’s death to a man who has been wonderful for her, my brother and I. It’s not often that you get to strike gold twice, but we sure did. My stepfather Jim has blessed the three of us in many ways, not the least of which are his two daughters, son, and their families. He has also been amazing as Mom has battled Alzheimer’s.

With our newly blended family have come new and fun traditions like a Christmas Eve party for friends and family at my stepbrother’s home, all of us taking in a movie Thanksgiving night, reviving my love of tennis, and playing charades or other games together. Thank you all for being so kind and welcoming.  Now, if I can just figure out how to win a game of charades with them. : )

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