My dad would have celebrated his 69th birthday tomorrow. Actually, that is not true. We would have celebrated. He would have just played along good naturedly.
He was the kind who celebrated life every single day.
"Thaaank you my dear," I can hear him say in his deep voice, as I call to wish him.
His positive attitude, zest for life, his deep empathy for others , his ability to be like a rock, his tall stature (he was 6 feet), his love for driving, the superb way he could handle a car, a bike and finances too, his ability to laugh with us, even when we pulled his leg, his love for long walks , fitness and exercise, the endless debates and discussions I had with him, his teaching me to skim throw a stone, his teaching me and my brother to swim, his playing frisbee with my brother and me on the beach, the 'general knowledge' quiz questions he used to ask us , his love for western movies, his very practical nature, his go-getting ability, his genuine love for people and his ability to make good friends with every single person he met (and the way they confided in him and opened up to him), his uncanny sense of knowing what I was feeling even when I was hundreds of miles away from him, his love for the occasional whisky (and he never once got drunk) and occasional cigarette too, the marvellous way he could write (yes, my dad has written many short stories ), his love for nature and dogs and above all, the way he so effortlessly became the best dad a daughter could ask for--these are the things I remember most about him. They are fresh in my mind as though they happened yesterday. And yes--the photos are of me as a child and him.
It has been three years now but I still miss him deeply. You would think it gets easier with time. It doesn't. You just learn to hide it better.
Happy birthday to my dad. In me, he lives. His spirit, I celebrate.
I know this poem would have immensely appealed to him too.
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
---Mary Elizabeth Fraye