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Monday, June 07, 2010

Four Years

A Presidential Term lasts four years, barring re-election.

High school is considered to be a four-year plan, beginning with Freshman year, and ending with Senior year.

A Bachelors Degree takes on average four years to complete.

When you died, Dad, on June 7, 2006, life as I knew it ended. I think Mom's life ended too, that day, though it took four months for her body to catch up with her spirit.

On that beautifully sunny day in June, you launched me into a period of extreme ups and downs, financially, emotionally, and physically. I spent the following years living in the aftermath of your death, and all the traumas and tragedies that went with it.

But I've learned so much: about myself, about life, about how to survive. Things I didn't necessarily get to learn while you lived, because you took care of everything. You were the go-to guy for advice. You did all the home maintenance, inside and out, AND you provided for us financially as a Professor of Education with a PhD. You were the center of our world, Dad, and life hasn't been the same without you.

The difference between me and my other family members is that they paused briefly to come home and mourn, to bury you, and then they returned to their lives. I didn't. I realized just the other day that I stayed in that moment, suspended in time in the aftermath. I was still living it. I didn't get to go back to my life, because my life WAS you and Mom.

That ends today.

I'm awake now.

I'm more grateful to you than you probably ever knew for everything you've done for us. For me. I know that you loved me for me, moreso than Mother did. You never tried to change me into your vision of me—you quietly accepted me as I am and tried your best to get Mother to go along with it. But she's another story for another time. And frankly, I think she overshadowed you enough in life; it's time for you to get your due attention.

Thank you for being my Dad. Thank you for giving me 43 years of your life. Thank you for being the stability, the security, and the sanity in my sometimes insane life. Thank you for wrangling Mother when she needed to be wrangled. Thank you for providing for me, for educating me, and for loving me. Thank you for being the quiet, intelligent, sometimes lost in the background man that you were. Thank you for instilling within me your values, even if I didn't see them right away because Mother's were so predominant.

At 3:31 PM on June 7, 2006, you left us and changed my world forever.

I'm posting this, unedited. Four years to the date and time. And I'm graduating from the aftermath of it. There was Volume I of my life, which was Life With Parents; there was the four-year Intermission; and today I begin Volume II of my life, which is Life: My Way On My Terms.

And it begins... now.

I love you, Dad. I hope that wherever you are now, you have found rest and peace, and that you are basking in it. I hope that you are with those whom you love that have gone before or after you. I hope that one day, I'll rejoin you. I miss you every day. Peace out.

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