I wanted to be sad today.

Today marks twelve years since we lost my dad to pancreatic cancer.

I wanted to sit with my cup of coffee and think about the last moments we had together.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted the world to stop for one moment so I could miss him.

But the kids wouldn’t let me.

Well, really, life wouldn’t let me.

Lunches and snacks still had to be packed.  Kids had to get dressed.  We were late (again) for school.  We were out of juice.  I needed to help a friend.

I lit the traditional Jewish memorial candle and Howie asked me what I was doing.  I explained to him that the candle helped me remember my dad today and that it would burn all day and all night long.  He wanted to know exactly what time it was going to burn out.

As I bent down to talk to him, I realized how much of my dad is still all around me.

I see him in Gerry’s third grade school picture.  His ears, eyes and smile are almost identical to a picture we had on the wall growing up of my dad’s school picture.

I see him when Howie “eye-squishes” after laughing so hard his eyes tear, and when he picks his “favorite seat” on the couch squished down behind one of us, just like I used to do when I was a kid.

I see him in Lewis when he gets the mischievous third child twinkle in his eye (my dad was the third of five boys).

There are pieces of my dad everywhere.

I wanted to be sad today.  I wanted to grieve for all the time we didn’t have together.  I wanted to be angry at all the things he missed.  I wanted to think about how his death took him too soon from all of us.

But I couldn’t.

How could I be sad when there’s so much life – his life – still here around me?

Those smiles, those squeezes, and those twinkles?

How could I do anything else but celebrate him today with a smile, an eye-squish and a twinkle of my own?

I lit the candle today for my dad and for all those who have been touched by pancreatic cancer.  November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.  It is one of the hardest cancers to detect and has one of the lowest survival rates.  To learn more, visit http://www.knowitfightitendit.org/

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Now I’ve been happy lately
Thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be
Something good has begun
I’ve been smiling lately
Dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be
Something good’s bound to come” – Peace Train by Cat Stevens (one of my dad’s favorite songs)

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