|Mom and Dad|
All thanks to those two people in that photo.
I know that I was a pain in the butt as a teenager. How Mom and Dad got through those years, I'll never know. Patience.
Mom had more patience than Dad I think. Most mothers do.
Still and all, they gave me a happy childhood and many happy memories.
Five years ago this month, I talked to my Dad for the last time.
I was in a hotel, traveling for work, he was back at home after a pretty rough hospital stay.
I could hear the pain in his voice but, as always, he wanted to know how I was doing.
So yes, the last time I talked to my father was on the phone.
Not long afterwards he was back in the hospital.
Not long afterwards I made the long, lonely drive from Rhode Island up to Lebanon, New Hampshire.
It was cold, lots of snow on the ground in Vermont and New Hampshire.
A full moon lit the snow-choked fields and mountains of my youth as I drove north.
The call had come after church.
"It won't be long. You need to be here."
I've told parts of this story before, here and here.
It doesn't get any easier. The pain doesn't go away. It's always there, some days you just don't notice it.
Then it will creep out of the mists of memory and wound me anew.
I still remember sitting in that darkened hospital making the phone calls that would get the news out to my oldest daughter, The Nuke, serving her country far out at sea on board an aircraft carrier. It gave me purpose, something to do.
The next day, awakening at my parents' home realizing that it had been no dream.
Five years ago today, I lost my Dad.
I miss him still.
I miss him always.