Monday, February 7, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dad!

I never met my dad. My mom had 4 children under the age of 7 and was a month away from giving birth to me when he was killed in a car accident. On Valentine's Day. Six days after his birthday. Now that I have 3 kids of my own, I have absolutely no idea how the woman carried on after such a devastating loss. If you ask her she will say "God doesn't give you anything you can't handle."

I've only seen pictures of him. Once at a family reunion my uncle was showing some old home movies he had recently transferred to VHS tape. So I got to see him alive. He walked across a room. That was it. But wow, did it ever mean a lot to me.

I am so fortunate that my dad's family has long considered my mom their sister and we have remained close. I hear stories from them about my dad. Still, I didn't know him. I see his picture and that's all it is. I really wish I had known him.

Tomorrow is my dad's birthday. Not an easy day for anyone in my family. I was thinking of him today and how I need to remember to call Mom tomorrow. How it might be nice to write about him. How it would be really cool if I could remember all my loved ones who I've lost on their birthdays this year by writing about them here.

Last year on Valentine's Day I wrote a poem. I hardly ever write poetry, so this was very strange. And it just "came" to me. That had never happened before and I've been writing a long time. I wish that I could write memories of my dad here so you all would feel like you knew him, too. But, instead, I will share a funny story.

Last year we were driving to my niece's high school graduation party. The drive is a couple hours, so right outside of their home, we stopped for gas. I don't really remember what started this conversation, but it went something like this:

Kailey: Where is your daddy?

Me: Where is he PHYSICALLY?

Kailey: Yes.

Me: He's buried

Kailey: Buried? Why?

This started a conversation on how its tradition to bury those that die

Rachel: What was your daddy's name?

Me: Larry

Rachel: How did he die? Did he get bit by a dinosaur?

Me: No, he was in an accident.

Rachel: What kind of accident?

Me: A car accident?

Kailey: Did a car run over him?

Me: A car ran into him, yes.

Rachel: What color was the car? Was it red?

Kailey: Maybe it was yellow!

Riley: Maybe it was purple! (Girls are just naming their favorite colors now)

Later, we saw some orange barrels that had been run over. Riley made a comment about them, why where they on the ground? I said looks like someone ran over them. Rachel says "That's what happened to Mommy's Dad."

Kailey says "Who?"

Rachel goes "LARRY!"

I know my dad had a good laugh at that one!