Friday, February 19, 2016

i love you. i mean it.

The last conversation I had with my Dad, I told him I loved him. He teased me about calling for my Mom and not him and we chatted for a few minutes before he put her on, and before he handed off the phone, we both told each other we loved one another. He died the next day.

I told my Dad I loved him all the time. And I meant it.

I told him stories and made him laugh and he told me often that he was proud of me. We talked about school and work and family and faith. I called much more often to talk to my Mom, which he always pretended to be offended by, but when I called to talk to him, we always connected and we both valued our relationship and worked to maintain it.

I told him that he was a good Dad because he was. I told him I admired his marriage to my Mom and sought his advice in my own relationships.

He valued my opinions and I valued his stamp of approval. A few months before he died, the last visit that I would see him in person, we had lunch together at a diner he liked and we talked for hours about the non-profit he was starting and his dreams and vision and  I told him I was proud of him. And I meant it.

My Dad was easy to love and he loved easily.

Next week will be three years without him and I miss him terribly. So many seasons have come and gone and, like anyone who has lost someone they love deeply, I have been struck many times in the last three years with the realization that I want to pick up the phone and call him, but I can't.

I'm a parent now and I want so badly to ask him all about his thoughts on parenting and babies and how marriages change with kids and tell him stories and send him pictures of his granddaughter. Those moments sting and they make his absence felt deeply.

I am comforted profoundly though as we approach the anniversary of his death, that even though I won't get the chance to have those conversations with my Dad this side of eternity, I left nothing unsaid while he was still alive. My Dad died knowing that I love him and I know that I was loved by him. There is so much comfort in knowing that there are no regrets and I said everything I wanted to say.

Next week I will pour a glass of Eagle Rare whiskey and I will tell stories and remember his laugh and kiss Eva for him. And I will honor his memory by striving to say the things that matter in my other relationships as well; to say I love you, to say it often, and to mean it.


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