If only there was a way to skip April 27

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

 

4 thoughts on “If only there was a way to skip April 27

  1. Reminds me of the story I wrote on the way to my Father’s funeral. I think my wife was the only one that ever read any of it. Was supposed to go to my Baby Sister but I forgot. You just reminded me. Thank you.

    Tony Hemmelgarn

  2. Like you, I lost my father on April 27th, 1969. I was 16 and had watched him spent four years fighting cancer. He was 66. My father was a strong man, in so many ways. Yet the last time I saw him alive, he was so frail looking. I joined the Navy four years later, then spent 20 years on three different submarines, a tender, and several support units. Funny thing is my dad was terrified of submarines. I found this out many years later when I was told the story of his trip on a submarine in WWII. While in the army, he parachuted into an enemy held country to identify and help several scientists escape, only to break his back on the landing. He was evacuated by submarine. And he was so freaked out by the event, that they had to sedate him for the entire trip. Go figure I would jump at the chance of being on submarines! I too miss my father, and wonder what he would say about my choice of service. Hopefully, I will find out when we are reunited in heaven. God bless you Mac.

    1. God bless you too my brother. My Dad only visited one of my subs (SSN 711) before his health started heading south. He had gone to Spain to do a Tiger cruise on my little brother’s destroyer the year before and had a second heart attack in Madrid. He survived but had several strokes later. In the end, his heart just wasn’t strong enough. I am very much looking forward to seeing him in Heaven. Look me up when you get there. I’ll be the one looking like I’m a nineteen year old on liberty

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