Is that okay to say? Can I throw that right out there to you?
It’s been over a year since he died. But hell, I haven’t even begun to face it. I don’t want to face it. I don’t want to think about the fact that he is beyond reach, incommunicado, in the nether world or higher plane, beyond the reach of my longing for him.
Why does it have to be that way? Why is death such a complete separator? Oh, I know all the religious/theological reasons. I know the physical/biological reasons. Blah, blah, blah. Yadda, yadda, yadda. What I want to know is why does it have to be this way? Why do I, Sam Snyder, Jr., have to be separated from my dad? Why? Why does my experience of life with him have to abruptly come to an end? Why does it have to be over and final when I was not nearly ready for it to be over?
Do you know what it’s like to miss his voice on the phone saying, “Hey, Bub, how ya doin’?” or “Hey, Sammy, when ya gonna come see me?” Do you know how it feels to no longer get calls at 6 AM saying, “How about meeting me for breakfast over at Doug’s place? Let me buy you a coffee before you have to go to work.” Don’t you know that I would pay a million dollars and give every drop of blood in my veins to hear his voice on the phone saying, “I’m coming by with donuts for you and the kids before they have to go to school”? I mean, for God’s sake, I’m only 43-years-old. I potentially have a lot of years to go without those phone calls!
But do I really have a long time to go? Do any of us? Do any of us realize how short time really is? Do any of us really feel the brevity of our lives? Do any of us really embrace the fact that our time on this earth, in our relations, amongst our families and friends, is so, so laughably short? We put off. We procrastinate. We say we’ll tell our kids tomorrow that we love them, that we are proud of them, that we can’t bear the thought of ever being separated from them. But we die one day short of that tomorrow and never tell them, never hug them, never look them in the eyes and say, “If I could I would sacrifice every cell in my body, every pulse of my heart, every instant of desire in my eternal being to see you happy and to know that you will forever rise above death in this world and the next.”
Hug your kids TODAY! Go to them NOW! Take them by their collars and press your nose against theirs and say, “I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU!” Yes, they will think you are crazy! Yes, they will complain that you are blocking their view of their video game. But goddamn it! (Forgive me, Lord.) They will remember you when they are 43 and they will cling to you! They will remember your old ruddy face and the passion in your eyes when they sit down in their sadness and miss you. You will have given them something substantial to hold onto.
So, do you know what I just did? No, of course you don’t. You are not mind readers! (Are you?) Thanks to the modern technology of the day in which we live our minuscule lives, I just picked up my cell phone and sent a text message to all five of my children at the same time. That’s right. I might be a father with grown children, but I know my technology and I am hip enough to use it! I just sent a message to my kids stating, “I just realized that I can send a text message to all 5 of my kids at the same time! So, I just want to say that I love u and…” Wait. Why should I tell you exactly what I said? Why not let you think of your own message to say to your kids? Yeah. Express it in your own words. Let your kids remember your own words, your voice, your heart.
So, what has all this been about? Well, I miss my dad. The circumstances of our lives pushed us apart more than they brought us together. I regret that I didn’t find a way to reverse that situation sooner. I regret that I didn’t have the strength enough to weep over his poor suffering forehead when the cancer was consuming his life (as I am weeping now). I regret that I didn’t take more of an interest in the things he was interested in. (I could have gone to more NASCAR races with him, or sat in his living room watching the Chicago Bears lose again, or met up with him for breakfast more times than I did.) And I bet all that I own that there is someone in your life that you feel the same way about. All I am really trying to say is, “Don’t make the same mistakes again. Tell the others that you value EXACTLY what you feel for them NOW, so you will have less regrets if they leave before you do.”
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PS – I received two responses to my text message immediately. (Goes to show how attached to their cell phones kids are!)
Sarah – “Aww thankx daddy-o! And all 5 of us couldn’t have askd 4 a betr daddy I mean ur freakin ROCKSTAR! I LOVE U DADDY!”
Joel – “Dad I love u to and have a good night ok?”
I know the other three are out there somewhere…