And watch the sun sink like a stone
I’ve had some time to think about you
On the long ride home”
I cannot believe you would be 63 today. That’s old. You’d think it was old. I guess I didn’t realize how young you really were. Im 43 years old now. FOURTY THREE. You died at the age of 53. Damn that is so young. So. Young. Not sure I can even picture you being 63. Less hair, more sentimental, more emotional, more nostalgic, still riding that Harley and RETIRED. Its sucks shit you didn’t get to enjoy retirement. I mean really. Thats just not cool. You’d have gone on a lot of rides with Dennis Im sure. You’d have taken Mom on more trips. You’d have gotten that damn pool because Mom would’ve won that argument and your grandkids would’ve loved it. I wonder if I would have left Texas.
As all great conversations are held over beer in a lawn chair on a driveway…..we’d have had an hour or so one today. We would have had red velvet cake and beer and turned the garage radio on and sat in the lawn chairs on the drive and solved the world’s problems. Dad there is a great possibility that the presidential race next year will have 2 women. Yes Im serious. I think its badass. I don’t care what your politics are its about time! Its funny I used to care more about politics. I don’t really give a shit anymore. Life’s too short and meant to be lived outside, away from the tv. I just don’t care about that anymore. We often disagreed on political issues but it was so fun arguing/talking to you about them. I have a feeling your granddaughter is going to change the world.
You would’ve been sad about Patrick. More than any of us I think. You were very much the most emotional one in the family. Well, except Kelly…you know that. Poor thing cries if you look at her funny. She got that from you. I’ve cried a LOT in the past 9 years Dad. Brain rot sucks. It so totally sucks. And motorcycle accidents suck. And cancer sucks. I don’t cry as much anymore. It doesn’t mean I don’t miss you. I do. Every single day. The pain of loss gets less INTENSE over time but it never ever goes away. And the funny thing is the longer you are gone the more I miss you. You would’ve offered advice on the driveway about saving enough money for me and the kids to be ok without Patrick. You’d have said “you’ll always have a place here”. I would have felt that security. I don’t have that now but Im ok. I promise. I often wonder if I’d have left Texas if you had lived. I don’t know the answer. I really don’t. But I do know I am right where I am supposed to be now. I found a strength in me I NEVER knew was there. You’d be proud of that. You would.
When UPS trucks drive by I think of you. When CCR comes on the radio I think of you. When Harley’s drive by I think of you. When Coors is around I think of you. When I open the spare room closet and your 3,000 Harley t-shirts are hanging there I think of you. When I start a conversation with “well lemme ask you this….” I hear you. Its funny. When I find myself standing on my couch with a clenched fist screaming at those damn Dallas Cowboys and everyone is looking at me like Im crazy…yep…I came by that genetically. By the way- you don’t even want to know how its going this season. I like all those little reminders.
Colorado is as beautiful and amazing and awesome as you always said. I wish you’d gotten to live here. Last year I went to where you had your accident. What a beautiful last sight you got to see. I see why you loved it here so much. Im going to climb every damn mountain, walk every trail, stare at every beautiful sight for ya. For Patrick. Because I can. Dad- I climbed Pikes Peak. Pretty sure you knew that. Leaving Texas was hard. Not as hard as it would’ve been to live the rest of my life and wonder. I hope you get that. I hope you know. Im sure you do.
Dad music is still shitty. The classics are still better. I choose Bob Segar and Fleetwood Mac and Zeppelin over current pop everyday. You’d be glad. Somethings just cannot be done better. I still choose beer over fru-fru drinks. I still don’t wear white below the waist after Labor Day. I still let the other cars leave the line first when the light turns green. I still check my oil consistently. I never leave home without money. And my friends laugh but I take toilet paper on every hike. I learned the importance of that from you and your sock story!
Maddie & Andy are amazing. You’d love watching them play soccer and watching Maddie cheer. I can hear you saying a thousand times how much you “loved watching me cheer” and this is “deja vu” and “time flies so enjoy every minute”. I am. I am.
I know you’d also say work less and play more. Im working on that. I get it now. I hope there’s a long winding beautiful road where you are and access to a low rider today. I hope you get to have a Coors too. I will. Happy Birthday old man. Until next year.
I remember my Dad getting more teary-eyed as he got older. Shit he didn’t get to get that old…I mean 53 is pretty damn young to die. But he became a more “emotional” guy as he got older. I remember the same thing about his Dad. My Pawpa. I wondered why they teared up so easily. I figured it was a side effect of aging….you know cuz when you’re 29 you think 53 is old! Moron.
I think I was partly right. I think tears come more easily the older you get. I think a lot of good things come with aging to make up for the crappy bags under your eyes, wrinkles and need to pee every 20 minutes. And one of those good things is an ability to ACTUALLY appreciate things. Appreciate people and time. Time. So funny none of us think we have enough of it. I guess we don’t.
In my line of work as a “coach” I encourage people to get healthy and eat right. I get to harass them every day to make sure they did their workout. And Im also the leader of a team of coaches. I have to find clever ways to motivate them in building their businesses. The very most common thing I hear…ok its not a thing lets call it what it is…its an EXCUSE. The very most common excuse I hear is “I don’t have time”. I hear it MANY MANY times a day. “I didn’t have time to get my workout in” “I didn’t have time to read any new training” “I didn’t have time to make my Shake” “I didn’t have time to cook so I ran through a drive through”. I DONT HAVE TIME”. I know. I know.
I am not trying to be an asshole. I know you have 4 kids and laundry and a job and after school meetings and work crap and your kid is sick and your head hurts and you injured your knee and the store doesn’t have the right fruit selection and your son has soccer and your daughter has swim and your kids come first and you are tired. I. Know.
When my husband was diagnosed with Brain Rot we had to seriously sit down and think about TIME. Headaches and carpools and stress of getting to swim practice or soccer or school functions kind of blow right out of your thoughts when REAL shit happens. I used to never be late to anything. I used to never let my kids miss school. I used to make every single class party and school PTA meeting and I don’t regret any of it. I MADE the time for those things at that time because that is what I wanted to do. When the shit hits the fan. When you are faced with illness and a questionable amount of time you tend to re-evaluate. Re-prioritize. And you realize you may not have time. I think I came to terms with that when my Dad died.
Not one single one of us knows how long we will physically be on this Earth. None of us. The piece we have in common is none of us are getting out of this ride alive. None of us. So when a few smart neurologists tell you “hey sorry we don’t really know what this will do to you or how long it will take” you stop making sense and you stop making plans and stop making spreadsheets and stop being on time and making sure to never miss a dental cleaning. You move to Colorado. Because…why not? And you don’t wear a watch anymore. And that Type A shit kind of falls by the wayside. And you cry more. And thats ok.
I workout for several reason. It is my anti depressant. It gives me energy. It makes me happy. It is my job. And it will make me live longer. Also- I can. I can move my arms and legs and body so I should. Its a gift that I can. Its a gift that Im able to. And if I CHOOSE not to I am an asshole. Many want to. Many can’t.
Same with my business. There are days I don’t WANT to work a lot. There are days we all don’t want to work a lot. I love my job. I do. But Id rather hike all day everyday on mountain with no cell service. I cannot. I have kids and a questionable job future for my husband so I work. I envy those that have choices. I hope you know how lucky you are. But I guess we all have CHOICES. I couldn’t be happier with the ones we’ve made in the past 2 years.
I usually have a plan when I write these blogs. Not today. Just rambling. Feeling nostalgic and teary-eyed I guess. And happy. And lucky. Despite Brain Rot and my autoimmune disease and my daughter’s illness I am so lucky. So fucking unbelievably lucky. I CHOOSE to make time for the things that matter. My health, my happiness, my friends, my family, and ME! Nobody HAS time. They MAKE time. There’s a quote I love that I found when I moved to Colorado. “The trouble is you think you have time” – Buddha.
So if you want to run a marathon- do it. If you want to make a career change- do it. If you want to tell someone something and are afraid- TELL THEM. Do all of the things you want to do. Your soul NEEDS you to do them. Make the time for that. Live with no regrets. Live like there IS not time. Its a fucking great way to live!
Recently someone from my past apologized to me. Twenty years after this person did something to me that warranted an apology. The something they did was pretty bad. Pretty sad. Pretty hurtful. And had a very big impact on me. It actually changed the way I trusted people, the way I let people into my life, the way I made decisions….it affected quite a few things in my life. It changed me. Made me quite cynical. When someone hurts you I guess it can do that.
So when the apology came I was surprised and shocked and it was very unexpected. And I guess that could have gone either way. Even more surprising was my reaction. Without missing a beat I accepted the apology and replied with “No apology needed, it was forgiven years ago. But thank you and I accept your apology.” Holy shit who the hell AM I? That is certainly not a response I would’ve given fifteen years ago. Maybe that apology came exactly when it was supposed to. And after the words came out of my mouth and onto the message that I sent to this person I realized that everything I said was actually true. I had forgiven years ago. I DID accept and appreciate the apology. You know why? This person meant it. And maybe it took 20 years to really mean it. So Im glad they didn’t say it before now. I REALLY REALLY AM.
When my Dad died there were a few phrases that got repeated that made me want to strangle someone. “God wanted your Dad more than you”, “At least he died doing what he loved”, “he is in a better place” and my ALLLLLL time favorite “everything happens for a reason”. It does not. I am old enough to know that now. There is not a reason for everything. And that is OK. But of all of the things that all of the people said to me then I by far cherish this….my dear friend came up to me at the funeral, hugged me tight and said “I AM SORRY”. And she said it clearly and looked in my eyes as she said it. She meant it. She really, really meant it. She was so sorry for my loss, my pain, the situation. And it is all she needed to say.
I think in ways those three words are both over utilized and under utilized. So strange how that works. How often have I spurted out “oh sorry” at someone and not really meant it? Too often Im sure. I can’t remember. What I do remember are the times I DID mean it. When I hurt someone and I say “I am sorry” I hope it comes across with all that is intended. I hope they know I am sorry I hurt them. And when someone loses someone they love and I say “I am sorry” I hope they know that with all of the conviction and intensity my heart can muster how much I am sorry for their loss. That I know that loss. I know that pain. And I am so sorry they have to feel it.
Fifteen years ago I don’t think I would have been so forgiving. And that is a shame. I think it is necessary to forgive even when no apology is given. For our own peace. My 22 year old self DID NOT feel this way however. It was a very unkind thing they did to me. And it hurt. And perhaps its time to forgive the 22 year old me for the things she did wrong too.
As soon as the words “I am sorry” were uttered recently to me I knew how much meaning was behind it. I saw the 20 years of regret. I knew they were truly sorry for the pain they had caused me. And funny thing is…I had let it go years ago. Maybe because so many sad things have happened to me since then that it seemed like no big deal. Maybe because I grew up. Maybe because I knew they were sorry long before they could say it. Maybe…maybe…I am forgiving after all. Damn maturing thing. Sneaks up on ya sometimes. I forgive. I completely and utterly and lovingly forgive you. I think I already had but those words you mustered up and were brave enough to send 20 years later are greatly appreciated. And my heart is peaceful.
It would be nice if none of us ever hurt each other. But this is real life and that is not possible. Do yourself a favor. Say you are sorry more. Mean it more. And forgive more. Its good for the soul.
And the 42 year old me is smiling for the 22 year old me. Thank you old friend. 😉