When I run into someone I haven't seen in a while, they always ask me
"How are the kids doing? How old is Jacob now?"
I reply with "The kids are great. Jacob's two now."
"Wow" they say. "Two years old already? Can you believe it?"
Well yeah, I can. Whenever I recall how old Jacob is a little part of me aches as I can't help but think its been that long since I've been able to talk to you, to call you for advice, to ask you any random question in the world because somehow you would know the answer. I ache for Jacob who never got to know what a great person you are, who will never get to come to you with boy scout questions, who will never get to go on a lawn mower ride with you. I ache for Bree who will never have her Papa pick her up from preschool or attend a Grandparents Day at school. I ache because I see the details of her memories of you are starting to slowly slip away. However, every now and then Bree surprises me with a random story she recalls about you in such detail that I can only hope that its because you're visiting her in her dreams.
I'm trying my best to start implementing the life lessons you taught us into my life. Hard work, dedication, maintaining, if it needs done then do it - even if its not your job, and don't forget to spend time with the family. Learn where you came from and work hard to get where you want. If you need something, then buy it. If its a frivolous spend, it can wait. Do what makes you happy. I struggle with that last one. You worked harder than any one else I know to make sure that our projects for school were the best that they could be. You took the time to teach us how to do things for ourselves (canning, house repairs or otherwise). You sacrificed so much for us so that we could have a life better than your own. I know now that when you see your children happy and the values you instill in them coming out then you reap the rewards of parenting. But still, I can't help but think of how much more you deserved from this life, how much more you had to offer doing the things that made you happy. You had only just truly begun.
I avoided it for as long as I could but eventually I caved and joined a website called Pinterest. You would have loved it, Dad. Oh the things that people can make using the most common of things all grouped together for easy searching. I think you would have found some wonderful project ideas to make for the people up at Rainbow Oncology. I know you would have because Becki and I have. We're doing what we can to keep your memory alive up there too.
I miss you so much. Some days its still so unreal that you're not going to be on the other end of the phone when I call. Whenever I'm having a bad day with the kids it would be so wonderful to hear your voice, reassuring me that I will get through this followed by a story of how I did something so much worse and what all is yet to come. But then, at the most random of times, I'll catch a whiff of something familiar, something that reminds me of you and its like a hug. A reminder that you are always with me and sometimes thats just what I need.
I love you, Dad.