I’ve been wrestling for a few days about just how I wanted to tackle this post. It’s a hard one to write, simply because this time of year is never an easy one for me. There was a part of me that wanted to solely go the route of expressing how much I miss my dad, and how I wish I could spend his birthday with him, and how not a day goes by where I’m not reminded of him or where it feels surreal that he’s not here anymore. Now, all of what I just said is true, but for once, I think I want to write something that speaks to who he was as a person and what was important to him. My dad’s birthday is today (April 21), and he would have been 62 if he was still with us on Earth. Do I think he was taken too soon? The selfish side of me says yes…the spiritual side of me knows that things could have gotten much worse for him had he stayed with us, so in that respect, I’m ecstatic that he’s not hurting anymore.
But I miss him.
Luckily, he gave me a gift from the day that I was born that will never leave me. It’s so much engrained into who I am as a person that I feel it is an integral part of my personality, and it has a hand in every single aspect of my life. The gift he gave me was the gift of music. Whether it was me having to hear him practicing songs on his bass for church on Sunday, or going with him to watch him perform with choirs, or singing in the car with him on the way to the grocery store, music was our thing. So on this day, on what would have been the beginning of the 62nd year of his life, I choose to celebrate him through song. There are so many songs that I learned through him, or that spark some memory of him when I hear it. There is one song that every single time I hear it, whether it be on my iPod, on the radio, or me randomly choosing to listen to it on YouTube, that feels like he is reaching down from the musician’s stand in Heaven to give me a hug. That song is The Gap Band’s “Yearning For Your Love.”
If you actually want to hear the song, click the link to go to YouTube — it won’t allow playback on the site.
Now, I have no recollection of the first time I heard that song, or even if my first time hearing it was with him, but no matter where I am, what I’m doing, who I’m with, or what’s going on, if I hear that song, I automatically feel at peace. I’m thankful every day that I had him in my life for the 16 years that he was with me, and that he passed on his genuine love for music and his talent down to me. Every time I hear a song with an amazing bass line, or a tenor that can really sing, or see someone playing a bass guitar or an alto saxophone, I’m reminded of my dad and just how much of an impact he still has on me to this day. It’s not an easy thing to realize that the only way I can tell him happy birthday is through my dreams and my thoughts, but this year, I choose to celebrate his life and his legacy. He left me with so many stories to tell my future children about who their grandfather was, and how awesome of a man he was.
To the best man I’ve ever had the Earthly privilege of knowing, I miss you. You live on in my heart and in my mind every day, and it is my earnest hope that I am making you proud down here. I wish I had one more conversation, one more hug, one more cheer from you in the back of the auditorium after concerts, one more ride down the highway listening to the radio together…I love you so much, and I take comfort in knowing that one day I’ll see you again, and we’ll get to do a whole lot of catching up. Happy Birthday Dad!
4.21.49 – 7.25.03