Would’ve been dad’s sixtieth birthday today. That’s an interesting number, and it makes me realize that I too am swiftly moving into new eras of my adult life.
It makes me wonder a lot, too. Processing his loss from such a young age morphed me into a very particular type of person.
Who would I be had that not been the case? An entirely different being?
In some respects, undoubtedly. In others…who knows? It’s probably a toss up as to whether I would have still developed an abusive relationship with alcohol or not. If not drinking as a coping mechanism, then perhaps some other recreational vice would have taken its place. I’m almost certain my proclivity towards rebellion & mischief would have remained intact.
Despite how long it has taken me to understand these parts of myself, and how heart-wrenchingly painful that process was, I’m still grateful. Grateful I am who I now am. I don’t feel as though I’ve quite found my place yet, but I do know that my struggles also doubled as a sort of tutelage. Part of the sobering process included having my eyes opened to where my life was headed, and how truly awful it is out there for some. I am in general now more aware, and in general now make better choices.
I’m also grateful for what I do have, and am continually polishing my practice of not lamenting what I “don’t.” Specifically when it comes to my family. My home was broken by biological deterioration & physical health. It was sad. But it was always a home of love, both with and without my father. The pain was never purposeful, mental, or psychological; I never witnessed the people responsible for raising me attempt to assassinate one another’s character.
Beyond that I was never told I was “not good enough” or “a disappointment.” My parents loved each other. They shared that love with their children. Always. There are so many, many children who never have & never will be so lucky.
I don’t wish to squander these gifts. I hope to reciprocate them. I want to become the kind of man my father was.
Happy birthday, dad. I won’t drink one just for you tonight.