celebration · daily life · gratitude · renewal

What My Father Taught Me About Living


Forty seven years. I celebrated forty-seven years of birthdays in December. This is not a milestone. This is not a year designed on any greeting card. This is not a reason to throw a surprise party.

And yet, this birthday is one that mattered. A lot.

My father died just three days after his forty-seventh birthday. I was only eighteen at the time and though his absence has touched every single day of my life, I feel as if I finally grasp the enormity of what he lost.

In those years, he missed so much: meeting my husband, both of my college graduations, my wedding, seeing my son born. He missed my successes, my failures, my ups, my downs, my sarcasm, my depression, my hugs, and my love. He missed my first home. He missed my first real job. He missed my first book. He missed my cancer diagnosis and my battle toward remission. He missed holidays and weddings and parties and the nothingness of ordinary days. And that is just me. There are three other children, grandchildren, countless other family and friends, and of course my amazing mother. He missed so much.

And now, as I become the last of his four children to reach the age of his death, I miss him more than ever. We accomplished what he wanted for himself. We made him proud. We honored his life with our own. We loved and laughed and cried and screwed up and succeeded. We took chances. We tried. We never gave up. And now, we owe it to him to make these years – the ones he did not get – count.

Birthdays serve as so much more than a celebration of the day we were born. They are a reminder we are alive. And number forty-seven is somehow more important and beautiful than all that have come before. I want to live in the everyday as if I might not have another. I want more love and less hate. I want more laughter and less tears. I want more silliness and less seriousness. I want to see the best in people even when they are at their worst. I want to jump outside my comfort zone and possibly fall and rise up with a smile.  I want more of everything that is good in this world.

I want to embrace. I need to let go.

Those desires are nothing new. The need to share and spread positive things – things that make me smile and think and believe and dream? That is definitely new. It is time. And the older I get, everything becomes about time. Living the years my father did not get to enjoy proves time alone will never be enough. It is what we choose to do with those moments that matters.

Let us be inspired. Let us be joyful. Let us choose wisely.



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~Inspired ME, Joyful BE

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