Today is February 5th and it would have been my dad’s 83rd birthday. I normally mark the day by posting a simple message like “I miss you, Dad” on Instagram or Twitter, when Twitter was still a thing and I was still on it. Today, I want to do something a little different and tell you a story. My dad could be tough and for a big part of my adolescent life, we butted heads. A lot. At one point, it got pretty bad and we actually didn’t talk for a while. It seemed like we were often at odds with one another about something, but maybe that’s just how I need to remember it. When he got sick, we got another chance to get good and let all of the things that once seemed so important just melt away. As heartbreaking as it was to see him deteriorate like he did, I really am grateful for the time that it allowed us to spend together. We managed to get to a place where we respected each other, not just as men, but as father and son. We spent a lot of time on the front porch—often in silence. We watched a lot of westerns and we talked about some of the things that went unspoken for decades. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good. I was holding his hand when he died in 2013 and while I was extraordinarily sad, when he took his last breath I was also grateful. He had fought as hard as he could for as long as he could, but now his pain was over and he could finally rest.
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