I have been blogging for a few years now. At first, like many, I was obsessed with the stats, and went through the requisite depression when my hit count did not go from 2 to 1000 per day in a matter of weeks, despite the brilliance of my postings. It took me a while to realize that those numbers really don’t mean anything. It was more important that I enjoyed what I was doing, and all it takes is one appreciative reader to give my work value. This blog, the fifth I am involved in, is in some ways the most fun. Not only does it have more of a purpose than the others, but it is more interactive. I still check the stats on occasion, more out of curiosity than anything now. Sometimes I find people reading older posts, and I will then read them myself to remind me what the post was about. It is uncanny how often it will bring back to me things that I needed to remind myself of. Yesterday I took a peek, and someone had read a few month old post called Irony and Synchronicity. It was about how life may often lead us down unexpected paths, but the reality is we are usually exactly where we need to be.
I wrote that the day after my dad died.
Today is his birthday. He would have been 80.
I am bringing this up here today for several reasons. My dad had Alzheimer’s, and as anyone who has dealt with diseases like that knows, we lost part of him long before his body passed. The truth is, despite his love of the written word, he never saw any of my blogs, never really read anything I wrote. But what really stands out in my mind is that he would have not only been totally on board with what we are doing here, he would have wanted to join us as much as he could … even at 80. Walking was a passion of his, and he thoroughly enjoyed communing with nature. He was not the most present dad when I was growing up, but most of my fondest memories with him involved some sort of outdoor activity. In many ways I would not even be here, writing this post, on a blog devoted to a crazy yet wonderful undertaking, if it were not for my dad. There is much of him in me … right down to the sound of my voice and laughter. I have his sense of humor, his love of learning and his vast appreciation of the ridiculous. I also have his stubbornness, though we Kramers got double whammied on that one … mom can be pretty stubborn too!
This journey is as much because of my dad’s life as his death … irony and synchronicity. So it seemed appropriate to celebrate his 80th here, while at the same time expressing the sorrow we all feel for his loss. I don’t really know what I believe is in store for us when we move on, but whatever it is, I know my dad will be with me on that hike. I will hear him laughing when I laugh; hear some painful vaudevillian pun in HIS voice at the most appropriately inappropriate moments; and feel him standing next to me as I appreciate an amazing view.
Happy birthday dad. I miss you.