It was a Sunday morning when I was informed that my father was gone. Since then, not a day has gone by that I have not thought about him at one point. His words, laughter, love of Indiana University basketball, and the way he loved his grandchildren fill my mind and soul. Every time I call my mom, the label in my contacts still pops up as “Mom and Dad,” and I can’t bring myself to change the name yet.
Here is what has caught me off guard this past year: I remember how we didn’t always get along well. In high school, I was mad at him once for a disagreement that I swore to myself I would leave home after graduation and never return. While in college, there were times that I did not want to go home for the long list of questions he would ask about my life. As a new parent, he was angry with me one time for a choice I made that I told myself he would never see my boys if he acted that way. The years with him were a roller coaster of good times and bad – just like every relationship.
No matter how many times I thought I would move on in life without him, we always found a way to forgive and move past our differences. Now my life has indeed gone on without him, and it hurts more than I imagined. Sometimes it causes me to stop and smile. On other occasions, like right now, I cry.
Through the years, I have used this day to tell people the joy I have found in my faith that dad is with Jesus. I have written for children of all ages to contact their dad if he is alive. My experience has shown me the power of a father in the life of a child. Today I want you to take a minute to appreciate the differences between you and your old man. Perhaps no relationship is as volatile as a parent and child, but your differences form you into the adult you have become today. Some of your actions are a rejection of his and others an imitation.
I miss you, dad. Even though we didn’t always get along, our relationship is what made me who I am today, and for that, I am grateful.