My dad has been gone for over a year now. I know how lucky I am to have had him in my life so long. Not many people get to feel so very loved by their dads for so very long. I know all the things we say- 'how lucky to miss him so much, that means he loved you so well. He is in a better place. I wouldn't wish him back for one more day of suffering'. All those things are true. But I miss the man who loved me best first.
Spring is coloring Central Texas with the most vibrant, new green. The Bluebonnets are popping up all over, and the sun is starting to feel familiar again. It is beautiful. It reminds me of the last car trip I took with my dad, when I drove he and Mom around the Hill Country looking at Bluebonnets. He could not look straight ahead, due to his curved back, but looked out the side window. One thing about my dad, he managed to enjoy life to the very end. And he loved to eat out. We had not been on the road long when he began to wonder where we would eat lunch. Such a simple thing, but he found pleasure in it. He was always ready to try new foods. The only gee-whiz thing I can remember that he was only luke warm about was kale chips. He ate them, but wondered what all the fuss was about. They didn't even hold up to dipping in salsa, so what was the point? I doubt seriously if kale chips are on his plate now. I'm thinking more like heavenly chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy. And probably biscuits, and some sort of pie. Any pie would do, really. He wasn't picky.
I look out my window at our back porch and still see him standing beside the bar-b-q pit with Bob and whatever other guys were around. Maybe smoking a cigar to add the right touch to that smoke coming off the grill. My dad didn't ask to be the center of attention. He wasn't a big joke teller or attention getter. He just loved his family, loved being part of whatever we were up to. And he was a helper. Even after he could no longer get up from his chair, he would ask if I needed him to help me with groceries. He forgot, because he still had the desire to lend a hand.
I'm thankful to have so many good memories. But I miss him. I'm sure he's still around. I can hear his voice sometimes, and feel his presence. Love you, Dad. Say hey to the grandparents for me. Tell God I need to talk to him about this whole death thing. And I guess you can tell him I said thanks for Spring.