Sunday, February 10, 2013

Thanks Dad

Dad and I on my wedding day, 1999.
Last night I had one of those great dreams that everyone who has lost a much-loved parent longs for: the visitation dream.
I was at a boisterous party among a great circle of friends. My parents' friends were there too. And I saw my dad's best friend, Joe (also passed away) walk into the party and say "look who I found." It was my dad. He looked just the same as he did on my wedding day. Robust, happy.
"Dad! I'm so happy you are here. I've missed you. How long can you stay?" I begged.
He looked at me with his twinkling green eyes and gave me a wide smile. He said:
"It never ends, you know. The love you have never ends."

In reality he never would have said something so overtly philosophical. But he would have lived it. He lived his life like the love would never end. There would always be room to add one more friend to his wide net. Always time to help fix a car, paint a house, listen to a weepy phone call, buy a drink, share a boat ride, make a hospital visit, babysit a grandchild, play a round of golf, shoulder a good cry, be a pall bearer.

There was infinite time to share joy and sorrow.

As my own circle of friends and family grows over the years, and I struggle to juggle it all, I think of my dad. I remember the hundreds of people who spoke to my family at his memorial service. Through their tears and grief, they spoke of how my dad was there for them when they needed this or that — everything from helping a nephew get his first job to saving a drowning friend after a boating accident. There were many, many funny stories — a lot involving fast cars, boats and alcohol — and it was clear he was an entertaining guy to have around. He was much loved.

The gene pool didn't bestow me with his mechanical abilities or his green eyes. But I did get his easy smile and broad shoulders. And best of all, I was on the receiving end of his enormous capacity to love and be loved.

Just when I needed a reminder of why I have cast my own wide net,  he provided one.

That love you have never ends.

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