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Learning some lessons a few days

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By JE Bolton

This probably the most unusual Father’s Day story I’ve ever written and you’ll ever read. However, knowing the big and loving heart my daddy had for people, I’m sure he’d agree that this story is needed, especially in this day and time.

I remember the days before my father died. In fact, I vividly remember everything as though it was yesterday.

That evening, my father and I sat alone in his living room. We were both well aware of his situation. He had an advanced form of lymphoma. I’d just turned 30 and assumed I had life all figured out, until that evening alone with my father.

“Daddy, how are you feeling?” I asked.

“About the same,” he replied. “You know how Cancer goes. I’ve got my good days and bad ones.”

We sat there amid various awkward moments. Why, you might ask? For many years, our relationship was far from normal. They were reasons only best understood if anyone had been there and knew us. For most of my life, I considered him more of a distant acquaintance rather than a father; a mere shadow hiding quietly in the corner of my life.

I originally went to see him the last few months of his life as a favor to my mother. However, the more I visited with him and got to know him, it became more of a privilege rather than a requirement. Sometimes, you never know a person’s true nature until you get to know the real person.

Without warning and out of the blue, my father looked at me and said, “If someone was to look up funky in the dictionary, they’d probably find a picture of the two of us.”

Finally, the ice broke. I chuckled and nodded my head in agreement.

We talked about all the things that could’ve been done; all the “shoulda-woulda-couldas” that would forever be labeled as mere unfinished business. He told me of all the times I probably needed him, and how I felt I couldn‘t turn to him. I told of my own share of regrets until the evening became nothing more than a melancholy episode of “This Is Your Life.”

Finally, we set aside all differences, and for the first time we told one another, “I love you” and meant it. The rest of the evening followed with a list of things we’d do as soon as he went into remission…that is, had he went into remission.

My father died the following week.

There were things left undone, fishing trips cancelled, and a to-do list that would become no more. He died and I was left to ask God why.

Isn’t that how it often plays out? We spend so much of our lives living in hate and misunderstanding with those closest to us that we fail to see what might’ve been. When they’re dead and gone, it’s often too late.

Dear readers, live your lives loving instead of hating. Look past the anger and frustration, and love beyond your means and capabilities. When the person you hope to eventually spend time with is