No Regrets, Kid.

Today would have been my Dad’s 54th birthday.

Sometimes I think birthdays are the hardest days. This day is supposed to be all about him.

In my house, we never celebrated birthdays, as they were ‘just another day,’ and ‘overly marketed by corporations to sell things you don’t really need.’

Since he died, all I want to do is celebrate his birthday.

Go back in time, and give him some great birthday parties to remember.

Go buy him a really awesome laser scope or rain meter or something weird that only he could enjoy. Something to make him feel like he was remembered and special and show him how much he meant to me.

But we never had one of those birthdays for him, and we never will.

I think that’s the saddest part of all.

Even studying grief and death…it doesn’t make it any easier. It just gives you tools to better cope. I still find myself having the instinct and thought to give him a call sometimes and tell him something ridiculous–and then when I remember I can’t…

I lay in bed at night sometimes and all I can see is him laying lifeless and cold in a wooden box.

And the boots on his feet.

The boots he built his dream home with.

He had more plans for those boots.

When I look at my son I sometimes think how proud my Dad would be of him. How much he would absolutely love to get a warm little hug or see him walk and talk and experience new things.

Sometimes I manage to forget for a while, and then it all comes back even more vividly than before. You think you’re okay and that you’ve ‘moved on,’ but you haven’t and you never really will.

When someone you love dies, everything changes. Literally every single aspect of your life and mentality has changed forever. You will never be the same person again.

It’s like when the loved one leaves this world, they leave these little pieces of themselves behind for everyone that loved them. They stick to us and envelop us and help us along our own paths.

Sometimes it’s easy to celebrate life, make him proud, and be the most amazing person I can be.

Sometimes I get weak and sad and angry and don’t see the meaning of it at all.

But then I remember something he said to me when he was dying.

“No regrets, kid. No regrets.”

It’s hard not to live in the past and it’s even harder on days like today to keep your head up and simply move forward.

But that’s what he did. All the time.

I cry sometimes. I get angry sometimes.

I feel guilty for NOT feeling sad or angry enough sometimes.

It will be this way for a long time, this I know.

All I can do is follow the path his death has sent me on and try to be the best person I can be in the time I have here on this Earth. All I can do is try and live with no regrets.

So this year for your birthday, Dad, my present to you is a promise to live with no regrets–NOT reckless abandon, but an honest, good-hearted, kind and compassionate, learning, intelligent, regret-less life.

Instead of regrets, I will have lessons and learning experiences. I promise to take those experiences to heart, and not to waste any time on meaningless emotions and actions.

I promise to appreciate those around me, tell them I love them, earn and give respect.

I promise to make you proud and give the memories I was able to share with you to my son.

I promise to LIVE.

That’s what my Dad taught me.

I understand now, Dad. I understand so much more.

Happy birthday.

"Sundays too my father got up early 
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, 
then with cracked hands that ached 
from labor in the weekday weather made 
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. 

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. 
When the rooms were warm, he'd call, 
and slowly I would rise and dress, 
fearing the chronic angers of that house, 

Speaking indifferently to him, 
who had driven out the cold 
and polished my good shoes as well. 
What did I know, what did I know 
of love's austere and lonely offices?"  -- Those Winter Sundays
                                           Robert Hayden

Last Night I Had A Dream

You can learn a lot about things from your dreams. Some people think that’s not true, but I know otherwise.

I dream a lot. And I remember them a lot.

Sometimes I travel roads and highways–they are always familiar. I travel the same roads and highways in my dreams so often, that I could draw you a map, and maybe you could find them in your dreams, too.

I vacation, I hike, I travel, I meander, all in my dreams.

I panic, relax, find peace, and solve problems…all in my dreams.

I feel guilty, lighter than air, overwhelmed, and devastated…all in my dreams.

I’ve been held captive, and set free… all in my dreams.

I remember dreams I had years ago…still as vivid and awkward as they were when I first woke up from them.

They say people who were raised with black and white TV dream in black and white.

They say it’s impossible to read in a dream. It isn’t.

I don’t completely believe in lucid dreaming. I believe something happens when you go to sleep that allows you to have some control, but not all. There is no such thing as control.

Our eyes see in three dimensions.

Scientists have discovered that there are, in fact at least eleven dimensions.

I believe sleep and the things we see and experience while sleeping can be extremely helpful to waking life. Think about it–when you’re sleeping, you’re concentrating. On sleep. On yourself. On Calm. Without your eyes. All day long, our eyes interfere with what our brain is sending us. Because our eyes can only see in three dimensions. Our eyes cannot feel.

I believe our brains can sense and feel the other dimensions. Psychics, mediums, clairvoyance, being in the ‘right place at the right time’ or the ‘wrong place at the wrong time’–it’s all relevant. It’s all connected. Somehow. It has to be, right?

Out of all involuntary human behaviors and actions, sleep and dreaming has been the least-studied, least-explained phenomenon. Why?

Because it’s different for everyone. But the emotions are the same. Deciphering your dreams is not concentrating on the things in your dreams, but the feelings those things give you…

Enjoy your journey. And be aware. Take from it what you can.

You can learn a lot about things from your dreams. Some people think that’s not true, but I know otherwise.