This Snipitz is not going to be the same as the others, the subject matter is still to raw and too close to my heart. It is, however, something that I want to share with all of you.
Take it for what you will, love it or dislike it. It is what it is.
Over the last year since my dad passed I have had time to reflect on the relationship that my dad and I had….
This is what I want to share with you. A brief snippet, a glance into who my dad was and still is.
From my earliest memories my dad was there for me.
When I was young he would lift me when I fell, and as I grew older he gave me the encouragement to get up on my own.
To dust myself off and take that next step forward.
From the first bike ride that ended in a skinned knee,
The first of MANY times I struck out playing baseball.
From my first lost love, followed closely by first breakup, to the heartbreak of losing my grandparents (dads mom and dad) he was there with the same thought each time
“It’s ok son, you can do this.”
And I did.
Years ago I drove with Dad and Mom to Gresham, Oregon for the Mt. Hood Roller Road and Track Races. It was a long grueling outdoor speed skating race. 40 laps around the parking lot and out into the streets of Gresham.
Around and around I went trying desperately to keep up with the MUCH faster skaters in front of me, but to no avail. They passed me like a Lamborghini passes a Prius .
I was downhearted and yet each time I went around and past dad I could see this look on his face that told me he was proud of me and I could hear him tell me again…
Its ok son…you can do this.
And I did…I didn’t win (this isn’t the LOVE BUG story after all) but I finished the race.
Over and over in my life Dad was there with those same words of encouragement, with that same look in his eyes that told me it would all be ok.
And it has been.
Even when dad got sick a couple years ago. Dad and I went out on the last lock job I would ever take with him, he was a locksmith not a safecracker, but that would have been exciting! I could tell then that he was struggling to breath as the cancer that invaded his lungs began to take its grip. He could tell I had noticed and he put his hand on my shoulder and once again spoke those words, but they had changed slightly…
Its ok son…I can do this.
And he did, he battled and battled and encouraged us that it would be ok.
Then on a Tuesday morning in November I got the phone call I had dreaded, My brother in law Steve told me that Dad had passed.
God had reached out to dad and told him its ok Floyd…you can do this..
And he did. At long last reunited with the family that had so long ago gone before him.
As I got ready to go back home, I knew I was going to leave my family here in Missouri for a week while I went to Washington State for the funeral, I was concerned about them, but MY son, My little 6 foot 6 inch tall son who bears the name of his Great Grandfather took me in his arms and told me…
Its ok dad…don’t worry, we can do this.
The night I walked into the funeral home and turned the corner into the viewing room I froze at the sight of my father laid out in his final resting place. I could not move, tears cascaded down my face, and my sister Judy came to the back and took my hand and whispered to me as we walked towards the front…
It’s ok WE can do this.
It was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life…to say goodbye to my father and yet he wasn’t done with me…
As I drifted off to a nap later that afternoon, I heard my cell phone rang and I reached to pick it up…
Looking at the screen I could have swore it said …
I answered it, with a wave of fear and apprehension.
This is what I heard…
Dale…your mom and your sisters need you to be strong and take care of them just as you need them to take care of you.
And you will.
I have never left you, just as you will never leave me….It will be OK son, you can do this…
And the call went silent, or I woke up. I am not really sure which happened.
But I am sure of this, my father reached out to me as he has touched so many people in his life. He has been friend, comforter, teacher, guide, grandfather, husband, son, brother and most of all DAD.
He was always there with a smile, or laugh.
With a story or a joke. Maybe he was singing, doing a puzzle, roller skating, or doing one of his favorite things…..eating popcorn.
But he was and is ALWAYS here for me, and well, all of us really.
The pain of losing someone to death is one of the most painful things I have ever had to go through in my life.
From grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. Friends and co-workers. Each persons life leaves a residual of themselves on us. Those fond memories of them are snipits. Precious short movies, that keep them alive in our memories, for the rest of our lives.
Writing this has made me think of another father that lost his son to death. Did he too hold the hand of his son before sending him to earth and say…It’s will be ok. WE can do this.
The pain is enormous, and sometimes you just have to look away for a moment. Shed a few tears and carry on.
Today I ask you to do one thing for me. I want you to grab the hand of whomever is next to you and let Dad know we listened….
Think about whatever is a struggle for you right now in life and say,
Its ok, We can do this…
Your blog brought tears to my eyes this morning. My own father passed away from colon cancer when I was 16 years old. In October it will have been 40 years since his passing and yet there are still tears from time to time as well as recalling the life lessons he taught me by word or deed. Yep, its okay... we can do this.