The Living Years

My father has been gone for over 20 years now, but there is not a day goes by where I don’t think of him. I can still I can hear him laugh like it was yesterday. That boisterous laugh that rose on top of any conversation. I miss my father. It makes me sad to know that he never got a chance to see his grandchildren, or that his grandchildren would never truly know their grandfather. I try my best to ensure they know what I know. So that someday they will have a good idea the type of person he was, and how that shaped me to be the person, husband and father I am today. Even though he died when I was 15 there is much I learned from him. Mostly by example, rather than by instruction.

Just so we are clear, yea that’s me in the blue jumper in the photo with my two older brothers, mother and father in the spring of 76. Now back to the post…

My father was tall and imposing, and stern. When he raised his voice I knew I was in trouble. It’s probably why I can move as fast as I do.

He was an extremely talented man. He worked with stained glass, wood, could fix and engine, rewire a house and had vision when it came to creating things with his hands.

He loved my mother and treated my grandmother with the utmost respect. I wish I had given him the same while he was alive.

He gave my Ekky. My stuffed monkey that was the springboard for my own imagination.

He loved music, (well maybe not Beastie Boys), and even in his forties he took piano lessons. He taught me that you never are too old to follow any dream.

He opened doors for people, loved to cook on the grill, and was the Homecoming King, but acted like the class clown.

He loved to bowl. It made him smile.

He encouraged me to be responsible, although I wish I had taken him up on the offer a lot sooner.

He gave compliments and encouraged creativity. In his final days he helped me and my high school friends build our homecoming float in our garage. I still remember how impressed he was when he saw what we had made.

He was strong. Only once I saw him cry. I oversaw he and my mother talking about how life sometimes can be overwhelming. And he broke down.

I was asked this weekend if I liked the song “The Living Years” by the the group Mike & The Mechanics. I can say without a doubt… no. Not because of its melody, lyrics or instrumentation. No, I don’t like the song because for me its message hits too close to home.

“I wasn’t there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say
I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I’m sure I heard his echo
In my baby’s new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years”

For over 20 years I have wished I could have told him while he was alive that I admired him, looked up to him, and loved him more than I showed. I guess the only way to do that now is to pass along what I learned from him, to my children… Joey, Rebekah, and Aaron. And then maybe his grandchildren will understand what kind of a father he was to me.