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Happy Birthday, Dad

Today is my dad’s 69th birthday.  Jim took me and the kids over to the cemetery on Sunday to visit with him, and I’m glad we did it then instead of doing it on his actual brithday.  Visiting the cemetery is like a sharp slap in the face.  It’s a reminder that life has ended and everything you work for, hope to attain, and dream about is gone in the blink of an eye.  When you drive around the cemetery and see huge mausoleums just feet from plain, small, flat headstones, you are affected by the reality that everything in death is equal.  The guy in the mausoleum is just as dead as everyone else.  There aren’t any first class seats here.

But birthdays are days for celebrating.  They are days to remember how great life is and how blessed we are to be given another year to appreciate all that we have.  Even though my dad isn’t here to celebrate his birthday with us, we can still think about what a wonderful man he was and how much he meant to us.  I value every lesson I learned from him and every minute I had with him.  I admire the way he conducted himself, and I am grateful that even though it took most of his life, he was able to find someone like Ann to love him and share things with him.  Sometimes, after my parents were divorced, I would feel badly that he was alone.  I am so happy that his life didn’t end that way.

My father surrounded us with wonderful things.  Every day with him was an experience from which we learned and grew into respectable adults.  We came to treasure things like our Irish heritage, our South Philly upbringing, and having family around you to celebrate and to mourn.  We were taught appreciation for history, museums, national treasures and rose bushes, baseball, and water ice.  He lived his life loving things and loving people, giving what he could, when he could, to whomever needed.  He is a man worthy of a celebration.

Happy Birthday, Dad.  I don’t think a day goes by when you are not thought of, remembered, cherished, and celebrated.

Goodnight, my angel
Now it’s time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry
And if you sing this lullabye
Then in your heart
There will always be a part of me

Someday we’ll all be gone
But lullabyes go on and on…
They never die
That’s how you
And I
Will be