I still miss him, and I still love him. I still wish I could have just one more minute to spend with him, drink one more beer with him, exchange one more joke, hear one more story or fishing tale. And I would give all of those things up (were they presented to me) for the opportunity of having my son and my father meet. I know that my dad would have loved Alexander and my son would have, likewise, adored his Grandpa Gene.
But there are always things you want, things absent, things left unsaid that you wish you had made more of an effort with.
At the very least, I know that I didn't fall into that stereotypical male habit of holding back feelings and being non-demonstrative.
I never failed to tell my dad that I loved him, I never paused to hug or kiss him, to make sure that he knew how much I respected and looked up to him.
In fact, the last words I spoke to him on the morning he died were "I love you." And this was said as I was giving him a big hug and a kiss just before he went off to the operating room. He never came back out.
Had I held back on sharing that with him I would still be regretting my inability to express what I felt.
And I'm so thankful that my dad knew just how much I loved him.
The lesson, here, I suppose, is this simple thing: if you love someone, if you appreciate someone, if you have positive feelings towards a relationship, any relationship, why hold that in and keep it to yourself?
Love is at its strongest when it is given out and shared fully.
Because this is the 10th anniversary of losing my father, I thought I would link to the annual memories I have posted on this blog (and where I grabbed these pictures from): 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005.