Things I never said to my father

My father passed away unexpectedly several years ago. I wasn’t ready for that: there were so many things I never said to him that I wanted him to know:

Dad, thanks for providing for our family: we never went without a meal, never went without a house to call a home, never went without an education. We were not rich, but wealthy in other ways that are more important: you taught us values, and right and wrong.

I was sometimes a slow learner, especially in those head strong years as a teenager growing up in the liberating 60’s and early 70’s. So thank you for calling the military police on me after I “borrowed” the family car and went for a joy ride at 13, or “allowing” me to spend the night in jail after I got into a fight in front of the Leavenworth police station. I learned to take responsibility for my own actions, and that has been a life-long benefit.

Thank you for serving our country as you did: in the early 50’s in the Army of Occupation in Germany, a few years later on the Korean DMZ, and those three years in Vietnam. Our nation sent you to those places to confront fascism and communism, and you did so with honor. In those last few combat tours you returned to an ungrateful nation, and yet you never vilified your fellow citizens, saying you fought for their right to think and speak freely.

Dad, thanks for understanding when I chose my own path, turning down the opportunity to attend a military academy or ROTC, and then again understood when I told you and mom that day in our kitchen that I was enlisting in the Army. You said you understood, and it’s a decision I never regretted.

Finally Dad, thanks for just being there. You spent many years away serving our country, but when I most needed you, you were there for me.

I love you and miss you.  Jeff

Those are the things I never said to my father while he was alive. I so much wished I had.

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