Dad, this was your first birthday without you. Most of the day I kept busy, trying not to think about you. Yet that didn’t work too well, as by the last half hour of school, when I was teaching sixth grade science, tears just started rolling down my cheeks.
I always remember your tender heart and how you would get teary-eyed watching movies. Your big heart, taking so many people under your wing to mentor them. You allowed countless people to live in your home when they needed help, always welcoming them into our family. You shared life with so many, everyone knew who you were. All I had to do to introduce myself was say that I was Pastor Steve’s daughter and everyone would say “Ah!” and nod their heads. You never cared what others thought about you, your main concern was that you were following God’s plan and doing your best to live out your life the way Christ would. You were pastor, teacher, computer programmer, counselor, mentor, missionary and Nonno, but most of all, you were MY dad.
I miss hearing you preach, you had a simple way of relating Biblical truths to the people. You were a perfectionist, which was terribly annoying when I was growing up. It was important to you to make time for family time. I was always proud to say we had a family that had weekly family nights: homemade pizza and a movie that you would pick up from the English bookstore on your way home from work. You were always taking pictures when we were kids, hence the multitude of memories we can look back on.
I miss you. I wish we could go on one of our father-daughter dates to the coffee bar. I remember as a teenager it felt so awkward, but I grew to enjoy our times together. You always said that we would write a book together one day… I guess that day will never come.
Happy birthday, Dad. I know you are partying with Mom and the angels. I can see the silliness going on up there in my mind. The pain is still very deep and real. People give their advice and ideas, but they have no clue what’s going on in my heart and mind. I tend to tune them out. I focus on God and on how you both would advise me if you were here. Life is a journey, and this tragic loss of both of you has been, and will continue to be, a never-ending bumpy road. Just when it seems to be getting smoother, my feet get bruised once again. Don’t misunderstand me, this journey isn’t all bad. I still enjoy the beautiful scenery around me, the sounds of my children’s laughter and the love of my man. They are what help me keep walking this never-ending road, knowing that there is peace up ahead.
I miss you. I wish you were still here. You were my rock when times were rough. You were my defender when life seemed to be against me.
I miss you.
Happy birthday, Dad.