Today is one of those terrible "firsts." As it has approached, there's been a growing dread in the pit of my stomach that I've done just about everything to ignore.
Nothing has worked.
This day has been a weight on my heart and soul because it is one out of those countless reminders that you being gone is so unfair.
It isn't right.
I find myself reflecting on the things we used to do because it helps to remember the moments we had that were filled with laughter and joy. The memories ease the pain like balm on a wound. The sting is there but it's not as pronounced.
Luckily, there's quite a few to pull from.
I remember you taking me to the comic shop on Saturdays where we'd eat pizza, play games, and hang out with the guys for hours. I cherished those days because you all treated me like I was one of the gang, even though I was just a kid. Probably because you all were just big kids too.
I remember the many nights spent around the kitchen table playing board games or sitting in front of the TV taking turns trying to beat Aladdin on the Sega Genesis. I swear those Disney Sega games were unmercifully difficult and had no business being that hard for children. But we would play and laugh and have the best time.
I remember I would wake up early in mornings and watch my routine morning cartoon slate and you'd eventually come downstairs and start your morning devotions. I remember the car rides where we'd quote Monty Python for a solid 45 minutes or you'd give me some advice for the season of life I was in.
I remember the exasperated "son..." comments where you'd sigh and shake your head whenever I did something that lacked any notion of common sense.
I heard that quite a bit growing up and I relish the moments I get to say it to Clark today and think, "That's what he was feeling in that moment..." Too funny.
I remember getting to watch you not only be Dad to me, but Dad to my sisters and lead our family well. I remember you playing with them like you played with me even and though the toys and interests were different, the joy was exactly the same.
I remember so many more good things and I remember the not-so-good things too because you were human and took those opportunities to show us you didn't always get it right.
I remember thinking that this is the man I want to be like when I get older and have a family of my own. And I hope you know I'm doing my best to live out the model you set.
Dude, why'd you set that bar so stinking high?
It's been 228 days since I last saw you. That's roughly 5,400 hours and 328,000 minutes if you're counting. And a vast majority of those minutes and hours have been spent thinking about you and wishing you were here.
I've wished that you were here to see your daughters walk across the stage and receive their diplomas. I've wished you were here to see your grandson fall in love with baseball and flourish at school.
I've wished you were here to talk about movies and hockey and all of the things of life that I desperately want share with you.
Man, I wish you were just... here.
But knowing you, you are exactly where you want to be. And I firmly believe that if given the option, you wouldn't leave where you are to come back to us. It's not because you're heartless or you don't miss us. It is because you are in the presence of our Savior. You've made it home. As much as I remember all of those good things you made sure my sisters and I understood that our relationship in Christ is the most important thing.
You didn't just speak that, Dad, you walked that out. For a little guy who looked up at his dad as his hero, that was a powerful thing to witness.
So I'm struggling today, but I'm also so thankful. I thank God for you and the time we had together. Thank you for loving me and giving me such a wonderful example of how a father, husband, son, brother, grandfather, and man lives a full life.
I love you and can't wait to see you again.
Happy Father's Day!