I wrote earlier this summer about how excited I was to have reunited with my Dad, after a 37-year separation (a long story).
Now I've spent the past week mourning his passing.
My best estimate is that I spent fewer than 21 days with him during my life. I met him when I was a teenager and spent about a week with him and with my siblings and stepmother. Then I reunited with him this July. It took me a long time to make the decision to meet him again, but I'm so happy that I did. I can never get back those 37 years, but so many people close to my Dad have told me how happy he was that I was back in his life. And I'm happy I was back in his life.
Even in those paltry 21 days he made an impression. I already know I'm going to miss the phone calls, which almost always started with his shouting, "Whaddya know, Kiddo?" It didn't seem to matter what we talked about - he was just happy we were talking.
If only there was a giant rewind button that would allow me to go back in time and change things. I didn't think 19 years was enough time to have with my Mom, and 21 DAYS certainly wasn't enough time to have with my Dad. My stepmom had 51 years with him, and it wasn't enough. My Dad's sisters and brother had 75+ years with him, and it wasn't enough. It's never enough.
I am thankful, though, that I at least had some time with him. And I'm thankful for all the new family I have. A sister, a brother, a stepmom, aunts and uncles, nieces and a nephew, and a whole bunch of cousins - all of whom welcomed me into the family with open arms.
I'll miss you, Dad.