If you could have heard his laughter, and felt one of his great hugs, and seen how he did things for other people without a thought, you would know too how much I miss my dad.
This is one of my favorite pictures of him.
It couldn't have been three years ago, but it has been. This is my least favorite day of the year. Loss is not an easy thing. I remember hearing the words "squamous cell carcinoma" and hearing "beyond stage 4" and coming to grasp that the cancer had spread from his bladder and into his lungs, and then to his bones and all so quickly ... we were going to lose him. It didn't seem fare. He was always so strong, so sturdy and my rock. We were always there for each other, and I had so much to learn from him.
Its not fare because I want to tell him that Omaha finally got a decent chili dog, and I wanted him to be on that drive with us down the Oregon coast like he and I had talked about, and I want to ask him all these questions with his incredible knowledge of oh so many things, and I want to seek his advise ... and ... and ...and.
He was generally pretty quite ... and laid back. I appreciate that more now. He was mechanical, an incredible welder and liked to make many things ... little machines, and later furniture and yard art. I remember when I was little, one Christmas he made me a rock tumbler to polish the rocks we would gather on walks in the Colorado Rockies. One summer it was a huge playhouse with an arched roof, sliding windows, storage banquette seating and a table. I remember there being corner shelves too. One year he made a hydraulic aluminum can crusher! It would whir and completely mash the cans that mom and I would gather on our walks on the country roads. and yes our feet could have done the job, but what fun that must have been to make such a creation! Together we made the lamps that are in our living room.
His favorite place seemed to be in his garden on our farm. It used to be the size of a football field ... of course it couldn't be a "typical" garden. Even when he cut the garden to half of its original size, there were peanuts (that when he hand made his wood burning stove for his new shop - had made an insert especially created for roasting the peanuts fresh throughout the winter months) and a 15 foot "green string bean TP" carrots, peas, potatoes, zucchini, gourds, cucumbers, a plethora of tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, melons, okra, and dill and all surrounded by the biggest salvia and zinnias and hand laid brick paths. And he was always more than happy to share his garden's offerings. He grew tobacco one year just to see if it would grow (and I think prompted because someone had told him it couldn't be done here in Nebraska! :-)) He is the only person I knew to plant sweet potatoes with a giant level! "The water will distribute evenly making your potatoes grow more uniform in size" he told me as I helped him one spring. You see he knew things like that.
And I wish I would have written all those things down, and I wish I would have taken more pictures of him, and ... I selfishly wish he was still here with us.
But I do take solace that I am a part of him. Knowing that I was a lucky kid to have a dad who would have done anything for me. Knowing that I always had his support. Feeling his unconditional love was just the best gift.
I miss you -