On Friday I turned 43 years old. Amanda made me one of my favorite kind of cakes using a recipe handed down through my family. We then had a nice dinner and spent a quiet evening at home with Baby Boy. It was a good day to celebrate the blessings that life has brought. However, it was also a day to remember a lost loved one.

March 13, 1989 was the day I turned 12 years old. It should have been a carefree day to celebrate getting older. Sadly, that was not the case. For you see, my dad had recently been diagnosed with myelofibrosis, a rare cancer of the bone marrow. On my 12th birthday my dad started treatments that were meant to try and stop the progression of the disese.

I still remember him waking me up that morning and wishing me a happy birthday, hugging me, and letting me know that he was sorry all of this was happening on my birthday. It certainly was not what either of us wanted, but that is often how life is. At times there is heartbreak.

My dad would not live to see me turn 13. The disease, with which he had been diagnosed, rapidly progressed into acute myeloid leukemia. This is what ultimately took his life on September 2, 1989. This was all too much for a 12 year old to process, which is probably why I still do not react to change very well in my life.

When I was born I know my dad was concerned with how I was going to make it in life. At that time people with disabilities were often marginalized, which still happens today. However, I think those who are disabled have begun to make progress. Many disabled people are employed, are married, and have families. I’d like to be able to speak with my dad today and let him know I have made it. His worry about me was for nothing.

My dad was 43 when he passed away. Now that I have reached that age myself, I see things from such a different perspective. I still feel like a kid in many respects. There is so much more living to do. My dad missed out on so many events in the lives of his wife and children. I still feel cheated that he was not there for graduations, weddings, and other important milestones. Despite this, life is too short to be bitter.

I don’t believe, nor have I ever believed that my dad is watching over us from some spiritual realm. However, I do believe when he died his soul went to Heaven. This is a place where there is no sorrow.

Therefore, he is not looking down on us and seeing the things with which we are struggling here on Earth. He is celebrating in a place where there is no pain. It brings comfort to me knowing he was able to leave his physical existence that was filled with agony. He had a short life here on earth, but his life in eternity is so much sweeter.

I hopefully have a lot of life left to live here on Earth, but I look forward someday to joining my father in that place where there is no sorrow. I just hope there is cake too!

My dad in his senior yearbook photo

One thought on “43

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  1. Ryan, thanks for reminiscing out loud. I’m enjoying getting to know you through your thoughts and words here. You have a very special wife to make you a birthday cake from a RECIPE! When someone around here has a special request, I run to the grocery (make that “drive”) to see what cake mix would make a good starter. Keep counting your blessings!

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