15 years...wow..I remember when I couldn't WAIT to be 15..to me it seemed like some magical number when everything in my life would be perfect. That was over 30 years ago! I've had 3 15 years..but today..today is a sad 15 years. It was 15 years ago today that my Dad died. Isn't it funny...how something so tragic can make you remember the events of that day so clearly? Not that anything special was happening ahead of time...but yet I remember.
My Dad was a special one. He worked hard and he played hard. I can't say my Dad and I had any extrodinary relationship. I loved my Dad...with all my heart and soul. I hated waiting for my Dad. Hated it...and sometimes..to this day..I think it's part of why I've had the relationship's with men that I have. I am use to waiting on Men...from the time I was little on..but that really has no revelence to the 15 years today.
Today it's about missing him. It's about all the things he's missed out on. I truly think I miss him more for my boys than I do me. I can't even begin to imagine how proud he'd be of all these grandkids. He was always so proud of Zachary. He'd attend all his sporting events(and Zach was in a ton) regardless of if he'd worked a 16 hour day or not! He'd always sit back with his buddy Jeff (Jeff's son Lucas and Zach were friends) and comment how Zach got all his skill in sports from him. I can see the shit ass grin he'd have on his face. The mischievous twinkle in his eye! Yea...I loved my Dad. I see that same look in two of my boys, both Zach and Seth. They both get that eyes to the side twinkle with the half smile on their face. It means trouble!!! The first time I ever saw Zach drink...well...when he was old enough and I didn't have to worry about beating him after, lol...all I could think was good thing Grandpa isn't around...cuz it would be trouble!!! Zach has alot of my Dad's qualities...he too works hard...and plays hard. And he makes friends everywhere he goes!
All my boys have my Dad's love of hunting. To this day they argue over who Grandpa loved the most based on who's gotten the biggest dear. Jordan especially loves hunting. He's like my brother...and will sit with the Cabela's catalog for hours making his list of must haves for hunting. I think it's part of why I love this time of year so much. My Dad loved to hunt and fish. And this time of year he'd get as excited as a little boy. Getting everything ready for hunting. He'd always make a big pot of chili. One year I decided I was going to go hunting too...He hunted in the back of a swamp. He stayed in a school bus made into a hunting shack. Truly a SHACK!!! Something I had no clue about. Of course all this bright idea of hunting had to do with the fact that he hunted with a very cute boy...lol!!!! Lets just say, after tracking behind my Dad, who had NO mercy, through a swamp...made me realize there was NO boy on the face of this earth worth THAT!!!
Seth is sure he is Grandpa's favorite. Of all my boys Seth looks the most like him. We found a picture of my Dad once when he was in about 4th or 5th grade. Seth was the same age. It was like looking at the same kid!!! Maybe that's why...Seth got to see Grandpa AFTER he died....Oh yes..that's what I said! I lived only about 3-4 blocks from the kids school. Now...dont send in social services...but there were times...Seth would be sleeping and I would leave him sleep and run the boys to school. My Dad HATED that!!!! So one day, after he died, I set off to take the kids to school. I came home and Seth was up and in the livingroom, watching tv, like it was no big deal! I asked Seth if he was scared. He told me no, cuz Grandpa was here. I thought my husbands Dad. Which puzzled me because he farmed and why would he have been here at that time of day??? I asked Seth, Grandpa Don...he replied, "no Grandpa with the black hair." Ahhhh..that would be my Dad. My heart started thumping faster. So I asked, "Really?, well did Grandpa say anything to you?" He said, "No, he just smiled at me. But Mom you know what was weird? I looked out the window and Grandpa's black truck wasn't here?" I asked him where Grandpa was sitting.."right there" (the recliner he ALWAYS sat in) I asked him what he was wearing.."his red and black shirt" (the flannel he wore the day he died). I still get goose bumps to THIS day telling this story. Mind you...Seth was THREE. Where does a three year old get a story like this??? Unless it really happened!!! Seth seemed totally unfased...I was shaken..and called my Mom...told her the story...and excuse my french..but said, :"WHAT THE HELL WAS HE DOING HERE DEAD, HE WOULDN'T COME WATCH HIM WHEN I WAS ALIVE!!!!!" So yea...guess that means SETH was the favorite.
I remember how my Dad would always make us frozen pizza on thursday night while he made oyster soup for himself. I remember how my sister and I would go down to his work on friday nights cuz it was beer night...
And I remember that day...15 years ago...I had just started working at the hospital. I finished my shift and went to pick the boys up from the sitter. Brenda was her name...it was a cool rainy fall day. I remember pulling up to my house...and seeing Mike(my husband's) parents there and thinking it was weird...I remember Zach coming out of the house...and my Mom behind him and that horrible sinking feeling coming over me. I don't know who it was that said it...I just know someone said...Grandpa had died. My Dad had had a few minor strokes and did have problems with high blood pressure. I always had this feeling after that...that something would happen to him. And it DID change my relationship with my Dad. Which I think has helped me this past 15 years.
I miss my Dad...everyday. It is true...you always have a piece of you missing...but time does heal, and help things get easier. I love you Dad. It's like the song says...If heaven weren't so far away..I'd pack up the kids and go for the day...I can see the grin on your face...I can hear the comments, and I know...you loved us with all your heart!!!!