Happy 74th to My Dad
Dad’s 74th birthday coming on March 13! What Should We Do?
How should we celebrate him?
Cards? Aden, his grandson at the age of 9, is insistent that everyone, including his puppy, gets balloons on their birthday, so let’s do that. We don’t live in the same city and cannot travel where he lives, but we can send him a gift card so he can enjoy a steak. Or Door Dash it. He loves to read. A few books delivered by Amazon; I have been catching up on Steven Pressfield, and I bet Dad would like him. Maybe we can convince him to try Kindle? Dad even likes flowers, like his son, but no one ever gives him those. So some flowers.
He would love a phone call. From me and Aden. He’s not tried video chat yet. So maybe we can do that. Maybe finally I will get up the nerve to schedule sometime with him to talk about his experiences in Vietnam. My wife has been trying to convince her Dad to take Aden on a trip there and explain what happened in his words. Would be powerful to have Aden go with both grandpas. Aden has done some reading on the subject, but these two men lived it and did have different experiences. I would join them, because I want to learn also.
As I have gotten older, the time we have has become more important to me to invest it. Time to give back to him. I have been busy with life for many years (especially since Aden arrived nearly 10 years ago now). So time to slow it down for at least a day and share some time with him.
The biggest challenge though is time and space. Because Dad left us in 2001. He had turned 54 just a few months prior. It was Memorial Day weekend. A holiday celebrating the lives of veterans of our many wars that did not make it home. And in at least the past decade a holiday where recognize the war that is still within those who do come home (which was my Dad for over 30 years of his life).
My Dad took his own life. Often viewed as the biggest act of selfishnesses and often misunderstood, suicide is still a very stigmatized, and shameful experience. It sucks to be a “Suicide Survivor.” It’s a club that I hope no one else joins.
Today though is about celebrating his life. The 54 years he spent here. For me 27 of it living and being physically there as my father. For the past 20 he’s still been there in the lessons that I learned and those lived experiences of my own that I tried to use some of the wisdom to navigate. Not impossible to be a good Dad without your own around, millions of men have done that, but I can only imagine how great it would have been.
I would appreciate any claps. A share of this would be awesome. And I am open to hear your story on this subject.
I would appreciate more if you would consider helping me honor him and all of the other veterans who have committed suicide. Honor them with a donation to the American Foundation fro Suicide Prevention (AFSP), or other organization you feel makes an impact. I am also a fan of the gear from the Til Valhalla Project https://tilvalhallaproject.com/.
Here is how you can donate to my walk campaign for AFSP