Wrap it up.
I have written about my father several times since the beginning of the dog-lbs project. Today he would have celebrated his 97th birthday.
He still lingers in my thoughts daily, memories of him are never far away and it makes me happy to find ways to include him in my life. I name my foster dogs after people he loved (John Wayne, George Foster) I carry on his love for Johnny Cash’s music, strong coffee and the Cincinnati Reds, rooting them on despite the outcome of each game. In my medicine cupboard past the Q-tips, Colgate and rubbing alcohol you will find a bottle of Stetson cologne, sometimes when there is stillness in my raging river of refection, when I am feeling strong, I open the bottle and take a deep breath of him.
My day started this morning with a 10 mile ride at the Lunken bike trail. It was frigid and terribly windy out as Lindsey and I made our way along the beautiful scenery.
Lindsey peddled past me laughing as she cracked a joke, I thought how much my Dad would have liked her, then I was flooded with the realization of how many important people are in my life that he never met. People that he would adore if he knew them. The list came and the reel played in my head with no effort. Lindsey and her spunky spirit, Scott and his love of baseball and faithful devotion to the Cubs, Sue Ellen and her kind, gentle ways, Lauren for being wise beyond her years, Mel and Bob for stepping in just like family, John always watching over me, the work Recycled doggies does, Carolyn, Jen, Jess, Leslie, Shannon,Tristan, Maggie, Tully, and the list goes on and on…
I don’t care if it’s not possible, I don’t care if it seems like nothing more than the words that would appear on a silly hallmark greeting card. I
want need to believe that he does if fact know all of the people who have walked into my life because they are all a reflection of him in some way or another. The laughter, kindness, gentleness, and effortless understanding, it was all the very essence of him. I find myself surrounded and protected by him each and every day through friends I have had since childhood to new friends who have recently stepped into my world, and I am choosing to believe that it’s not just some random assembly line of people helping to piece my life together.
This evening I put flowers on his grave, celebrating his birthday, honoring his legacy and thanking him for wrapping me up tight in his love through the people in my life. It’s just like him to give a gift to someone else on his birthday.