Dear Dad

In my head, I hear someone else's voice saying those words: Dear Dad….

Hawkeye always started his letters to his father this way, and just typing the Dear Dad makes me think of him, and you, and me, and all the connections we had while watching M*A*S*H through those years. All the same, I feel like we don't talk enough anymore, and for good reason. It's been four years to the day that you left us. Well, technically, later today it will be four years, and try as I might to suppress some of the pain that creeps into my memory, I still remember seeing you in that hospital bed, the family gathered around you. I wonder now, as I wondered then: Did you know we were there for you? Did you know that we were by your side those last days of your life, when you couldn't communicate? We wanted so badly for you to know that it was alright; that you'd fought so hard to get through this and to try and bounce back, when all those treatments had wreaked havoc with your body. You were probably remembering that time when we sat together, and we'd all made the decision that we would fight this thing one more time, rather than let it get the best of you.

It did anyway. The treatment was as brutal as the disease, and though your heart held strong, the rest of your body just couldn't recover.

Four years have gone by now, and you've missed so much. This morning, we were talking about how we would always know how many years ago you died because it would be one year older than your first grandson. That summer, we told you the baby was coming, and you seemed very happy about it. I wonder if you had a feeling you wouldn't get to meet him. He has your name, you know. And now he has a little brother, and so often I think of myself in your shoes with two boys running around the house. You never had the chance to "be" that grandfather, but I just know you would have made a fantastic one.

As I write this, I know that I can only express the impact of your loss from my own perspective, but I can see how it's affected the rest of the family. They were there all those times I couldn't be there to support you in person, but stepped back and let me get as close to you as I could when I did have the chance to get back home.  You're missing out on their lives, too, and some good things are happening that we all wish you could still be a part of. The memory of you is strong, and your impact and influence on all our lives is obvious and undeniable.

Dad, I'm sorry you're gone. I never wanted to actually say my goodbyes to you because I didn't want you to feel like we were letting you go. We never did, you know.


Posted bythemikestand at 3:51 PM  

4 stepped up to the mike:

Woman with kids said... 4:51 PM, August 02, 2007  

So well said.

jenny said... 5:27 PM, August 02, 2007  

A really lovely post, Mike. Brought tears to my eyes. I'm sure he'd be proud to see what a great dad you are to your two little guys.

Steph said... 12:47 AM, August 03, 2007  

Mike - Well said. Thank you. Now where's that tissue?

cronznet said... 1:33 AM, August 03, 2007  

I feel like a spiritual spy-cam when I read this...
Mikestand, I love how you loved and love your Dad. Thank you for honoring him with us internets and wherever and however else you do so. Every tear shed for a loved one lost is simply a hug we know we are missing.

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