For the past two weeks, grandchildren and adult children have filled our quiet lakeside home with laughter, fingerprints, and memories. I don’t want to tell you how many pictures we have taken. We say we will delete the “bad” ones, but we know we never will. All too quickly, the fingerprints will be scrubbed from the windows; the toys packed away, and books returned to the library. Thankfully the memories will last forever. The smallmouth bass caught at Uncle Karl’s pier, the hike through Newport State Park, the picnic with cousins and their children, ice cream at the Ice Cream Factory, and a golf game enjoyed by Dan and Mom all meld together to create a warm feeling deep in my soul. I am a blessed husband, father, and Poppi!
As I watched my adult children parenting their children and enjoyed watching my grandchildren play, grow and mature, I wondered what it would have been like if David were still alive. Would he be married? Would they have children? How many? What would he be doing to make a living? What kind of relationship would he have with his brothers, Chris and Dan? What would he look like? Would he be bald like his old man? So many questions that, sadly, will never be answered.
The wonder of what David’s life could have been mingles together with the pride and love I feel for my living children and grandchildren. It’s a challenging and intricate dance of joy and sorrow. We strive to honor the memories of David while embracing the present moments of life enjoyed by those still with us. Even though his picture on the bookshelf will never change, his life and legacy continue to shape and challenge all of us to live with purpose and joy. I choose every day to allow my grief to remind me of how much I loved David and the legacy he left behind him. He left his mark. His legacy lives on. What more could I ask for as a father?