Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The surly bonds of earth

Four years ago a piece of my heart was snatched away in an instant.

I love you, Dad. And I miss you. You were a gentle giant with the heart of a warrior. Unfortunately, that heart wasn't strong enough to keep you here with us.

Someday. Someday we'll meet again among the angels. Until then, my memories give me comfort and my heart brings me joy each time I look at my beautiful son. My dad is gone yet a small part of him remains. Life doesn't always turn out as we planned, as we hoped, as we dreamed.

Yet, perhaps that's what makes it worth living. To have each day mapped out like a book, each year or generation penned as a chapter in black and white, unable to be edited...what's the point? It's the unexpected that keeps us coming back for more.

A piece from the column I wrote after my dad died....the feelings I held that day remain with me still....

"I stood before those who had come to pay their respects. I glanced down at the casket in front, draped in the bold colors of the American flag.

My hand clenched tightly around the Marine Crops ID dog tag I held in my fist and began to recite 'High Flight' one more time....

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth  
Of sun-split clouds...and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of...wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,  
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung 
My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue  
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace 
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.

And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod  
The high untrespassed sanctity of space 
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

I paused. Then quietly added, "Then God called him home."

I walked down from the lectern, placed a single white rose upon the casket, held fingertips to my lips and gently placed a kiss upon the flag. Then whispered, 'Goodbye, Daddy. I love you.'" 

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