I dread this day. April 27th. Yet no matter how much I hate the day, it comes back again. I guess I should be happy that I am alive and in better health this year than many others. I just know that I will wake up again tomorrow and miss you.
We had such a roller coaster of a ride, you and I. I worshipped you as a young boy and came to resent you as a teenager. Maybe all teenagers do. I don’t know. But we fought over some of the stupidest things. Sometimes we just fought because we were really cut from the same cloth. People to this day tell me that our Navy pictures laid side by side are so much alike it’s intimidating. Then there was the morning I provoked you so much you hit me and ripped my shirt. I can still feel the sting sometimes.
I found out that you can only run away from some things but you can’t run away from yourself. Even putting on the uniform, I carried you in my heart and in my head for years. We still had our ups and downs but I remember the way you looked at me in my dress blues. Proud. Ready to burst. Did you see yourself?
I hated roller coasters as a kid. You made me ride them to try and break my fear. Maybe that’s why I took us on so many roller coaster rides for the next few years.
You watched me struggle with disappointments. But you finally realized I had to learn to pick myself up and you forced yourself to stand back and watch. It must have been hard. I was pretty stubborn.
But I got it together. Found a great girl. Found my rhythm. Broke through my own barriers and made Chief then Officer. I know you wanted to be there. I knew you couldn’t be. But I tried to always share the days with you as much as I could. Those phone calls every weekend were our lifeline.
I knew you were sick. I just didn’t think you would die. Not until that night I came into your hospital room and saw you so weak you couldn’t stand up. I had to pick you up and put you in your bed. Then I knew. Years later when I discovered that your Grandfather died on the exact same date at the exact same age, it seemed to put an exaggeration point on the day. 66 years young. Too soon.
Now it’s another anniversary. There is another shadow passing over a life so close to me. The old dreams came back and I can see you as a younger man again. When I look into your face, I see my own looking back. I am only one year away from the year you were when you went home. But now, I know its one year closer to when I see you again. I hope when we meet again, you only remember the good times we had together. I will know that I have entered heaven then. Hopefully they have boats in heaven. I’ll let you drive and I’ll handle the lines again.
Love, your son Bob