Two years ago I woke up in the morning later than usual as Izzy actually let us sleep in. I rubbed my eyes and went outside to enjoy the morning air with my phone in tow. I’d noticed I had a couple of text messages and some missed calls and voicemails (!?!), which was odd for me any day. Being “normal” for today, I looked at the text messages first. The first one I opened was from my ex-girlfriend of 15 years ago, Adriana. I thought it odd to be getting one from her on this random day, so it must’ve been important.

It was.

“I’m so sorry about your dad,” it began. Or something like that.

That’s how I found out my father died.

I’d been in Hopewell the day before to see him. The hospital moved him from ICU to a regular room right before I left for home. He was in bad shape, but I didn’t think it was that bad. No one did.

We had talked about my son, Izzy, very briefly. I told him he needed to get better so he could be a grandfather again.

He winced and nodded “no.”

I scolded him on it. He weakly smiled.

The last thing I told him when I left the hospital was “I love ya, dad.” Just like nearly a decade earlier when I left a hospital room my grandfather was in. “I love you, Oompa,” I said to him. He squeezed my hand and smiled a smile I’d never seen so big before. When I think back, I don’t know if I’d told him that in a LONG time, and I think it surprised him. I never saw him again.

It’s why I tried to say it to my dad when I saw him. Even though we didn’t get along very well. I always tried to tell him that. I meant it, and wanted him to know.

Today, I rolled around in bed in my “work” clothes with my son for a little extra time. I was late for work, and didn’t care. My priorties have changed a lot, even though my financial status has not. I know one day Izzy’s going to have to face the same thing, and I try not to think about it.

When I was closing the door today, he rambled up to it and whispered “I love you, daddy,” and smiled. I stopped and looked at him, smiled and said “Love ya too, buddy.”

I don’t remember those kinds of things with my dad. He wasn’t that kind of guy. He may have been that way for my sister’s two kids, Paul and Suzi, and I had hoped he’d be that way for Izzy. I guess dad knew it wasn’t going to happen.

So, I guess the point of all this is to tell everyone to say “I love you” a hell of a lot more. Be there for your family. Your friends. The lady who needs you to reach to the absurdly high shelf in a Wal-mart for a box of cereal. Your co-worker who seems down. Everyone you can.

And get on with living your life. It’s the only one you’ve got…

Big Daddy, my dad, always said “Life is Good!” He said it all the time. Even when it wasn’t. Being the cynical bastard I am, I never “got it.” I do now.

Me, I’m a bit more long-winded with my “important” quotes. I like to put up Joe Strummer’s words when I can. I think he knew his days were dwindling when he said them. Maybe not. But they resonate. They make me want to be a better father. A better (one day) husband. A better person.

“I’d like to say that people people can change anything they want to; and that means everything in the world. Show me any country and there’ll be people in it. And it’s the people that make the country. People have got to stop pretending they’re not on the world. People are running about following their little tracks. I am one of them. But we’ve all gotta stop just stop following our own little mouse trail. People can do anything; this is something that I’m beginning to learn. People are out there doing bad things to each other; it’s because they’ve been dehumanized. It’s time to take that humanity back into the centre of the ring and follow that for a time. Greed… it ain’t going anywhere! They should have that on a big billboard across Times Square. Think on that. Without people you’re nothing.” – JS

Thanks for taking time to read…

I miss my dad. I know my mom is hurting right now and I miss her too. Same with my sisters. My neice and nephew. My uncle. My cousins. My friends that I never see anymore. I miss all of ya. I love all of ya. — RIII