Good Chaise Lounge

Today is my Dad’s 88th birthday. It’s another one of those ‘first’ since his death last year. The first Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was still a bit numb then, we all were. Since then, the first New Year, first spring, and the first of my parents wedding anniversaries without him here have passed.

He would love this first – this glorious summer day. It’s no coincidence he was born in July. He loved the summer, the sun and the water, and he loved the beach. When I was very young, 4 or 5 maybe, he’d sit at the end of the water with me and try to coax me in. I was afraid to go in and he wanted me to love it as much as he did, and I do, now. I remember how his eyes danced when he laughed with me there. It would be years before I learned that he didn’t really know how to swim. That didn’t stop him and Mom from packing all five of us into the car with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, watermelon, and all our paraphernalia for a day at the beach. As he aged, the beach was replaced with a good chaise lounge in the backyard, a book in hand, but he never stopped soaking up the sunshine.

As time and each of these firsts passes, there are still waves of grief.  I feel them today yet they are softened by memories of love; of days at the beach. I suppose that’s how it is when you lose someone you love, the ebb and flow of days without them; at least it is for me. On this first of his birthdays without him, I wish Dad a happy 88th, a good chaise lounge, a book in hand, and a day at the beach – with love and gratitude.

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