60

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.

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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.

———

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