If my father were alive he would have turned seventy-five years old today. I remember fifteen years ago on Dad's sixtieth birthday we all had a surprise party for him. Everyone was there, all of his children, all of his grandchildren, his girlfriend and his only sister, Lynda.
My mother had passed away the year before, at the age of fifty-seven and I was determined to have this celebration for my father's birthday, as my mother never realized her sixtieth birthday.
It was a wonderful event and Dad was quite surprised. I think of that party often and what a happy occasion it was. I think of my father frequently and the influence he had and has on my life. Dad was a troubled man in some respects and yet a wise and humorous man in a lot of other areas of his life.
I have thought many times about the fact that I am glad neither one of my parents lived to see me go through the loss of my legs. I know how devastating it would have been for them to have seen one of their children endure such a traumatic ordeal.
I have one of the only photographs of my parents together, hanging in my bedroom, I look at it and talk to my parents often. I ask them to help me, to give me strength and guidance. Sometimes I wonder would my parents be proud of the way I have chosen to handle my leg loss situation. You know, I think they are proud, at least I hope they are.
In spite of all the drama that existed in my family, all the dysfunction, my parents did a good job raising all four of their children. My siblings are all good, loving and caring individuals. Mom and Dad despite all odds, instilled within all four of us the most important virtures of life. I am thankful for my parents.
I believe that my Mother and Father both endured a lot of hardships in their respective lives and yet they perservered. I think my strength and perservence comes in part from my parents and of course a great deal comes from God. My God and my parents what a perfect combination.
Despite my fathers's three failed marriages (two of them to my mother), losing a baby son many years ago, and losing three homes, he perservered. At the end of his life he had his own home and a seventeen year relationship with his live-in girlfriend On, the most successful relationship of his life.
I remember sitting with my Father during his final days, suffering from bone cancer, and he said to me, "this cancer thing wasn't part of the plan."
His starement really resonates with me now, this leg loss thing wasn't a part of my plan either. What would my Father have done if he were faced with the loss of both of his legs? I suspect he would have done exactly what I feel I am doing; remaining optimistic, diligently confronting the situation with determination and perservence.
I am not foolish enough to have canonized my Father, in the wake of his death, putting him on a pedestal, however, there are so many things about the way he lived his life that make me proud to be his son. I know in my heart, he sees and realizes what I go through in my day to day life.
Both my Mother and my Father have greatly influenced the type of person I am today and for that I am truly thankful.
Happy Birthday Pop, I miss talking to you but I know you are always watching over me now and forever.