Happy Birthday Dad

Today would have been my dad's 86th birthday if he had survived his prostate cancer.  As far as deaths go, his was a beautiful one. I was hiking with my friend today, and we talked about those of us who continued to have strong feelings regarding missing our elderly parents even after they had passed on.  She hypothesized that those of us who did so, were probably lucky enough to have had childhoods where the children were deeply cared for and loved unconditionally.

No childhood is a perfect one since all parents make mistakes, and parenting for the majority of people is a steep learning curve; at least during some point in the child rearing process.

Like everyone else, my childhood was not perfect, but I did feel deeply cared for and loved in a home that exuded these qualities.

And as I sit here looking at a photo of dad and I, taken so very long ago, I look past the completely zero fashion sense that the two of us shared.  (Thank goodness for the fashionistas of this world like Hilary!)

I look at that photo and I wonder what it is that I miss about dad not being here anymore.

One word.  It was the word written on his tomb stone in syrillic:  CKPOMAH

It's English translation?

"humble, modest, diffident, unpretentious, frugal, douce, retiring, self-effacing, unassuming, unostentatious, unpretending"

Honest Humility.  Without this, I think it is almost impossible to have tolerance and acceptance for others.  Without this, I think it is almost impossible to say, 'hey, I was wrong, I'm sorry'.  Without this, forgiveness has no meaning and arrogance takes up permanent residence.  Without this, barriers of pride do not give way to healing, and bold-faced lies go unchallenged.

I was only a mediocre student of these Life lessons.  Dad on the other hand, was a grand master champion.

Happy Birthday dad.  I miss you.