Life is so fragile. I know you know what I mean. We feel like we have all the time in the world to enjoy each other, to laugh with each other, to cry with each other. We sometimes take for granted the hugs and the kisses, the jokes, even the fights because we’ll see them tomorrow. Our family is invincible and we have forever. But unfortunately, that’s not the case. And our family felt it recently.
We pulled out a big box of pictures this week. We started looking through it, and came across a home movie of a surprise party we gave Chris’s dad, Allen, for his 70th birthday. That was 12 years ago! It seems like a lifetime ago and yet so recent. Last night, we popped it in and watched it.
There’s probably 50 family and friends laughing, eating, talking, there to celebrate an amazing man turning 70 years old. Allen pops into the picture, and he’s larger than life. He’s walking around the room talking to everyone, reminiscing about this story from the past or that friend they saw last week. Old business partners are there. Brothers are there. His children-Chris and Rita, his grandchildren, nieces, nephews, everyone….there all there to celebrate a man that loves his family more than just about anything. (Except maybe hunting. He loves to hunt, and you can tell when he opens his gift of a rifle!) You watch him belly laugh, head thrown back, the sound of happiness coming from him, hanging in the air.
You’d love to see his hair. I tease him all the time about his “luscious locks” because Allen has the thickest head of beautiful white hair against his tan skin from enjoying the outdoors so much. The man looks like he’s permanently retired on the beach! He just looks like….joy in this video.
Back to last night when we watched this video. It’s been 12 years, but we wish it was yesterday. Because following a leukemia diagnosis just 2 ½ months ago, this man, this father, this brother passed away on June 7th. It still doesn’t seem real.
We all wish there was one more moment with him. A moment to joke with him, a moment to squeeze our arms around him, a moment to watch the news with him (it seemed to be one of his other favorite things). And we’re left with memories. But good ones. Great ones. He was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of man.
Allen, you were….you are…an amazing human being. And your legacy lives in every life you touched over your 82 years. We love you and we miss you.