Today, I’m about a week from the anniversary of the last time I saw my Dad. I’m nervous… but today I read a poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye.
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die
You see, Dad didn’t really die. Maybe none of us really do. I mean is that what you truly believe? Is it what I truly believe? Or is it just something we apply to our lives when it is convenient?
Ok, enough of that. This isn’t about me. This is a letter to Dad.
This is me being genuine. This is me sharing about my Dad. This is me putting myself out there like those who place their trust in me as their business coach. I cannot ask them to share their deepest feelings, if I stay a closed book. I ask them to become vulnerable as I offer my guidance while they make business decisions, life decisions and maybe decisions that involve coping with a parent’s death.
Almost a year ago, we lost Dad. I can’t remember the exact date. Maybe that’s weird to some, but I just haven’t ever been a date person. Now, does that mean I don’t care? If you think, yes, well you obviously don’t know me. My Dad was…is the inspiration in my life.
This is my commitment to you who have disclosed your fears and uncertainties to me. This is my letter to my Dad.
I can look at myself in the mirror and see many of your faults and many of your gifts – all wrapped up in me, your son. But, you know that don’t you, Dad. I know you were worried about me. I know you thought you caused me misery when I was a kid because of who you were or what you did or could have done better.
But, it’s okay. It’s funny now; we are so appreciative of the gifts you gave us. You thought you were a hard ass, and you were right. And, you turned out some hardworking kids. Dad, just the other day, one of my business partners said to me, the best thing about being a partner with Scelzo is you know that guy is working as hard as you.
Dad that is a gift from you! What a great gift of service and respect. Were there times in your weakest moments when you thought you wouldn’t reach your greatest success? When I think of you, I think of how rich your life was. You taught yourself to be an engineer, a farmer, an entrepreneur. And, you did it all while raising a family and facing your biggest demons with your past, your addictions and your family.
This is a letter to my Dad. I don’t know how you did it. I think about how great your success was and how blessed life was for you. I know you had your share of challenges growing up. But, how lucky you were to meet mom and her family? I mean our Grandma alone was like meeting a pasta wielding, family dinner cooking Buddha in the reality of the rust belt.
Dad you had the wisdom to recognize a good thing. Even when all your instincts said, I need to bolt. You stood against your fears and demons and said, I will not go quietly into the night. I will stand and fight.
And, now, your greatest redeeming quality…your sense of humor. You sure were funny, witty, smart and friendly. You had that dirty old man quality that women love because it is innocent and harmless and cute all at the same time.
Dad, the thing I most appreciate about you is your fight, your passion, your need for life to be a contact sport – to engage with anyone, anywhere and feel something.
I never met someone so instant to find the truth and connection with his Maker. You always thought we were so different, you and I. I was the sales person and you were the engineer, but we were closer than you thought – it was our shared passion for truth, love and a desire for connection that made us one.
Dad, I think you were an inspiration for so many people I want you to understand I am not just trying to make you feel good. This is a mathematical fact. I know I have been an inspiration for those around me. And, you were mine. So – in turn – you have touched so many lives through me, your son.
As I’m writing these words, I began to think about how I would feel if I got taken early in my life. I would grieve for the unwritten history I would never experience. I would feel guilty for not being there for those I left behind – guiltily that I couldn’t support those I love.
This is a letter to my Dad.
First, I hope you recognize the impact you’ve had. You had incredible kids who are fighters and will see their dreams come true. We aren’t talking about small dreams here, Dad. These are dreams that can change the world – one person at a time. Dad, you did that.
Second, your sacrifice was appreciated. I know you felt you worked too much and not enough all at the same time, but we know what you did for us. We recognize what impact your sacrifice has on our current lives. We will always be internally grateful for your hard work.
Third, fierceness is always legendary. You are fierce in how you led your life. You looked fear in the eye and said, I know I should be scared, but I will stare down the beast. I dare for you to see what I’m, made of. This is attitude is one we will pass on from generation to generation. We will share your feats, your boldness, your crazy stunts and your hugs – they will live on through our stories. These stories will be bigger than the life we create. We will share the significance these stories created for all of us.
You are a hero to so many – the kind of hero that lives his life seeing his joys bigger than all his challenges. No matter what life threw at you, you still made so much for your loved ones. You left this world a better place than when you found it. You made this world a better place for us.
Dad, I will always remember that; to strive for that. To leave the world a little better than you found it. Dad, you did this with such style, passion and love that so many people followed your trail eager to see where their journey would go.
You are my inspiration. It was you who created Be More, Serve More – through me. Thanks for being you. We will celebrate your new existence. God, you will have a great friend to laugh and party with.