I miss you so often. If you were still here, we would see a lot more of each other because I’ve moved home now.
Almost every time we swim at K&M’s, I remember when you taught us to swim by throwing us in–“sink or swim” were your initial instructions. You were just the big brother helping out our single mom. She didn’t want any of us to drown. You accomplished your mission; we never did. I am also regularly reminded of your smile and your attentive listening because I see them copy-pasted in our younger brother.
Did I ever tell you how when you and Paula sent me the number 7 for my seventh birthday I used to think it was an F? Why did you send me an F from Germany, I wondered? Maybe you were in the army in France instead, I figured. (Did I also tell you that when I finally figured it out, I started crossing my 7’s? And I don’t think I told you I have saved that little 7 for almost 60 years.)
When I pulled up stakes and moved across the country, I remember the offer of a plane ticket back if ever I needed it. I never needed it because I married that guy, and I have the sweet memory of you walking me down the aisle on my wedding day–being the dad I hadn’t had for decades.
I enjoy every day of my life these days because you were a role model of a life well-lived. When you were diagnosed with heart disease as a young man, and having had a father who died of a heart attack at 43, you knew every year after 43 was a bonus. Your last 26 years were full of health, family, fun, and living in gratitude. Thank you for the legacy.
I love you so much,
During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. Today’s word is Respect. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information.