Happy Birthday, Daddy

Today would have been my father’s 65th birthday.

The last birthday he celebrated was his 57th. I remember we drove up to spend the day with him. I was very pregnant with Emily (she was born 11 days later). He was in chemo and recovered from the colon surgery he had the previous May, so he looked and felt pretty good. He didn’t start going downhill quickly until much later that Fall. But I remember consciously pushing back the thought that it could have been his last birthday. I regret pushing that thought back now, because it was.

When you lose a parent or someone dear to you, these days are so hard. It’s “easy” for lack of a better word to mark the anniversary of their death. If you’re Jewish, you kind of have to. But days that you used to celebrate and think special are different. But they’re not, at the same time.

I’m trying to imagine what he’d be doing today. What kind of gadget or gismo would I be buying him to mark the occasion? Mom finally got a DVR a couple of months ago. I know Dad would have had a Tivo long before that. He would have been so happy to see me using Windows XP and not hating it. And he definitely would have been blogging. No doubt about that.

We got our first cable modem in January 1999. I remember the date because my Dad was jealous. By then he was too sick to get off the couch that much (the cancer had moved to his spine) but he still would have gotten one had they been available in his area. He asked me all sorts of questions about it when we spoke on the phone. He was amazed that I could download a whopping 10 MB file in a few seconds instead of a few hours. He died about a month later.

So here’s to you, Daddy. It’s hard to imagine you in your 60s, much less thinking about retirement. Who would have guessed back then that I would mark this birthday working fulltime and then some against the disease that took your life?

I can’t turn back time, but I can work to stop others from marking empty birthdays. If you knew Shelly Weiler, or even if you didn’t, help us make a difference in his name.