Missing the first birthday

This will be the first birthday for my dad since his death. He would have been 84. We’ve gone through other firsts.

First Father’s Day. First Christmas.

The firsts are awful. There isn’t a guarantee they get better. This just first.

The last few years with him were harmed, and I think I will love them the most as time goes on. One of the best pieces of advice I got when I learned of Dad’s decline due to dementia was this: every day I get to spend with him will be our last BEST day. I was gifted with that gem and I used it as fully as I could.

He couldn’t remember what he did yesterday, but he knew his family. He also knew he loved the Green Bay Packers a and especially Aaron Rodgers. What I miss today is his laughing at me when I tell him his Packers beat the Vikings last week and they can actually make the playoffs. He would get a kick out of that.

I will miss holding his hand as I sit next to him. I will miss his laugh. I loved making him laugh.

I will miss kissing him goodbye. I got into the habit 23 years ago when he had triple bypass surgery and over the years I kissed him at some point in a visit more often than not.

Every visit was a gift. And those are gone. And I miss him.

Happy birthday, Dad.

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