Yesterday marked 21 years since my dad’s accident. While not a big milestone (like last year’s 20!), it’s still a day that my family takes to reflect back on my dad’s life and the memory he has imprinted on us and those around us. I don’t usually make a big deal about it outwardly. I reflect throughout the day, look over pictures, and generally just try to live my life the way I think would make my dad proud. Some years I watch the amazing slide show video that was made for us all those years ago. And some years I’ll tell extra “Grandpa John” stories to my kids. Sometimes it’s just the little things that help me through the day.
October 7th snuck up on me this year, though. I’m thankful that it happened to be a Monday, which is when I work from home anyway. I had a little more time to reflect than I would have being at the office and rushing through my day. My mom posted a few pictures and memories on Facebook, so I thought, why not? I’ll put a few up too just as a quick honor to my dad. What’s amazing is the outpouring of love received. So many of my own friends were influenced by my dad’s short life. They were there for me and my family as we struggled to heal. They were there to keep my dad’s memory alive. And they were there for me yesterday – commenting with memories, words of love, and just the fact that their lives were changed (even if just a tiny bit) on that beautiful fall day 21 years ago. And even those people who never knew my dad but have come to “know” him through us are always there with just the right words to honor his memory. I am so grateful to all of you. Thank you for making yesterday easier with your kind words and your loving memories.
And to two of my oldest friends (you know who you are), who were locked up in my bedroom with me that afternoon… I’ll never know truly how that day affected you personally. But I will always remember how your friendship and love affected me on a day I felt my world crashing all around me. The laughter and tears we shared that day are forever imprinted on my heart. And you never let an October 7th go by without reaching out – either with an email, a text or a phone call. Thank you doesn’t even begin to express how I feel when I hear from you. But I’ll still say it – thank you… for yesterday, for last year, for 21 years ago, and for every year in between.