First I would like to start by saying “Happy Veterans Day Dad.”
Upon the many events going on for veterans today, I’m still also stuck in all my firsts. It hasn’t been a year yet, and I’m still grieving. Now its important to understand that I’m not living in turmoil on a daily basis. More that, yes I have my days, and those day usually begin with the thought, “Huh it’s a special day today.” This time I don’t get to celebrate it with him. If any one hasn’t noticed thus far, my dad means a lot to me. We were close. Our relationship is, and was most definitely unique. We spent a lot of time together bonding. I learned a lot from him. Maybe not all direct lessons, but in respect to my young adult years, I reflected, and now I look even deeper through retrospect.
My dad is/was a hero. Not only did he serve his country, he did it with pride. Today, I would be celebrating with him. I’d be honoring what he stood for, and who he was at his core. As much as it pains me to sit around and think about only a year ago today, he was still here, getting sick, using his oxygen more. My father served many posts, and did great things. I don’t know his entire record, but I do know he led a platoon, he was a sergeant, and became first sergeant. Shortly after that, he had a heart attack and retired. (Stress)
Things I’ve learned just by watching, growing, and contemplating all he was:
“There’s more to life then what’s on TV.”
My dad used to say while sitting outside under our apricot tree. Sometimes I think about those times. Still so young and naïve. I still remember the thrill I gained from the little game I used to play with myself. To see how many I could pick in thirty seconds. Often, getting distracted by their delicious taste. “Don’t eat too many, they’ll make you sick.” Mom would warn. Stuffing my face, I’d look up with a muffled mouth and say, “Ok.” My mom used to make her famous Apricot Jam (My Favorite) towards the end of every summer. Nothing was more enjoyable than a piece of bread with a slab of apricot on it. Oh how I remember her humming in the kitchen while making up jam. Happy and content, she made a lot.
This thought took me through a series of memories. Earlier in life, we travelled a lot because my dad was in the military. Often having to make new friends. Because, we travelled so much that we all only had each other for a significant amount of time. Therefore, my family had no choice but to be close. He retired. We moved back to his hometown. As children we don’t get to make choices. This choice/move, simply put, pissed me off! (Another story for another day). At the core, I’m sure my dad learned a lot through his experiences in the Army. He had a purple heart but hesitated to talk about it. A story, and the scars of something lost. A story untold. Maybe the hidden memories created a better appreciation for life (a pretty valid revelation).
What I know, is that he is/was a wise man. I watched him be strong when, at the time I may have not known, today I realize he taught me the most important lesson I could have ever learned:
Despite what happens “Be strong for the sake of the ones you love.”
At some point, later in life after hearing some memories, I knew this was a man who’d shed many experiences, still standing, going strong, and why?
Because, “There’s more to life then what meets the eye.” Rareity
Many people are quick to judge a persons integrity by their own opinions about them. While, in the grand scheme of things, everyone walks a path that shapes them, and many do not know the wounds they have. Strength, agility, and a humble mind are important qualities to obtain.
Many know that wisdom comes from deep-rooted experiences that have affected us, or traumatized us. I have endured many experiences. I suppose between my fathers teachings, and my own personal experiences, I took that wisdom and ran with it.
“You are wise beyond your years.’ Some have said.
It’s something I hear a lot. Simply put. Because I’ve experienced many things that are beyond my years.
You see, the bitter points In life haunt us everyday. I suppose what’s worth remembering are those small simple moments that put a smile on your face when you’re looking back. My father spent a lot of time in the yard while we were growing up. Watching beautiful sunsets, and staring at the world around us. The beauty all around somewhat mesmerizing if you look close enough. For many years I watched while he fixed up vehicles, (“Storied Wheels” Publication 2014 Click here purchase a copy ) and passing on great wisdom while he pondered. I gained something from this experience.
When was the last time you “Tuned Out?”
Sometimes, you gotta step away from the electronics for substantial moments in time and experience life because It doesn’t skip a beat. When we drown ourselves inside our tablets, computers, laptops, TV’s, and phones we are also missing the orbit around us. Many missed opportunities pass you by, try to shake your hand, and try to bring you serenity. Life isn’t worth focusing on the negative aspects because, if the focus is so centered on the negative, you’ll surely miss out on all the positive.