Not long enough

My dear old dad has very much been in my thoughts of late; much more than before. No matter what I am doing, I think of him or remember something about him. I actually believe the older I am getting, the more I miss him.

It is almost seventeen years since he passed away, a month before his 60th birthday. He was far too young for his life to be over. I was far too young for him to leave mine. He certainly wasn’t around for long enough.

My dad had a real quick wit that he would entertain us with. When extended family was around, it would excel. He would shine with delight at the laughs he would evoke. These memories are some of my fondest.

He also had a talent I wish I had inherited; he was musical. He couldn’t read sheet music, rather he played by ear. His instruments of choice were the piano and accordion. When musical family members visited, they had such fun having a jam session, playing their favourite songs and singing along.

A real problem solver he was too. He would always find a way to make something work or fix anything that broke. He liked making things also. As long as he could tinker, he was happy. When it came to mechanics, he was more than capable of working on any vehicle however when he did, it was wise to wear ear plugs as a few profanities were more than likely to be blasted from under the vehicle.

Dad was so particular about his receding hairline and the little hair he had left. He did the old comb-over and it was meticulously held in place with a can of hairspray. We knew not to ever touch his hair – if you did, that was when you would see the placid man morph into a snorting bull! At home when he was tinkering, this gave way to his faithful beanie or slouch hat that always adorned his head.

He had a compassionate nature and a willingness to help anyone he could. I certainly could have used his help a gazillion times over the years. When I have needed something fixed or wanted to make something, I longed for him to be here to help or guide me. I would have loved to have used his tools and learn from him to create items to give to my loved ones.

In the early years, I found it difficult to be around dad’s eldest brother. They were born on the same day some three or four years apart. Their birthday was not all that they shared; their looks and mannerisms made you wonder if they were twins born in different years. The likeness was uncanny. When I looked at my uncle, it was like looking at dad and that was so painful in the beginning. Now though, I am able to cherish the likeness and know that before long, my uncle won’t be around for me to witness all those mannerisms that remind me of my dear old dad.

He really wasn’t here long enough. He didn’t get to meet all his grandchildren and none of the great-grandchildren. He wasn’t here for so many special occasions in my family’s’ lives.  He didn’t get to see me in a lovingly happy relationship. He didn’t get to see me grow into the woman I am today.

I miss him dearly. I am so grateful that he was in my life for as long as he was (even though it wasn’t long enough) and that all my children knew their Pa, albeit briefly. He instilled some great values in me and to this day I still try to uphold his motto:

Good. Better. Best

Never let it rest

Until your good is better

And your better best

Image credit: Mary Pahlke

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