There are all types of coaches and I as I coach two softball teams this year, I think about the "coaching" my Dad gave my brother and I growing up. He was never a big athlete, but he was athletic. We dragged him all over the place to play baseball, basketball and football. As a coach, I've taken some of the things I learned from those days and put them to work with my teams. Thanks pops.
It'll be four years in February 2016 since I lost my Dad unexpectedly. Don't worry, this won't be a post that makes you cry. I'm not going to wallow in the tears and bust out the Kleenex. This post is about coming to grips with the loss and how mourning is a journey with all types of ups and downs.
Yesterday I posted this to Facebook:
Today I went to go say hi to Pops. Crisp morning. Leaves rustling about. Sounds of kids playing soccer in the background. We talked about the kids and family. I shared a couple things that I thought he needed to know. We talked about how life is coming along for this nearly 42 year old Dad, trying to emulate all the good things he did for my brother and I when we were kids. I shed a couple little tears. Laughed a couple times. Touched his stone with a hand printed kiss and wished him luck. To those of you who knew my Dad, luck was using a nickel to scratch tickets, i.e. "scratchies." So, I left him a nickel. Good luck pops.
I was there for roughly 5 minutes. Not too long. I wasn't sobbing. I wasn't asking the question why. I was just having a chat with my old man. It felt good. It felt different. It felt as it should have felt four years later.
What I've learned over the years is that while I'm no longer a snotty-nosed mess when I think about my Dad, I still miss him but my sadness is a happy sad.
Let me explain:
- I don't allow the emotions to dominate
- I think about the fun times
- I wonder how life would be if he was still here
- I think about how I try to be a cool Dad as he was
- I ask him if I'm doing this Dad thing right
- I joke about the stupid things he did
- I remember all the little stories that only a few of us know about
- I remember him for who he was, flaws and all
- Mostly, I think about how thankful I was for the 37 or so years I called him Pops
I see other people post stuff online about how after 10, 20, 30 plus years of losing a loved one that they still feel the pain.
I am done with the fucking pain. It won't dominate me. The humor, memories, good times, sports moments and all the good shit is what I'll allow to fill my big head when I'm thinking of Pops.
Now, where is that nickel?
You're probably thinking, "Oh boy, what's this post going to be about?" Or, "This is quite the departure from the content he usually writes on his blog." Don't worry. I'm not becoming a holy roller on your, but I have found religion in a way that suits me.
Four months ago, I lost my dad. It was unexpected and every day since, I've missed him more and more. Today is the first Father's Day without him and it sucks.
But, this post isn't about me. It's about you. It's about those of you out there with kids and who's father is still with us.
Do me a huge favor today and help me honor my dad.