Don’t Hit It Harder

I never struggle to find words to put on a page or to share aloud, but I sometimes struggle to find the right words for the moments I face.

We’re about four or five hours away from dad’s funeral which is why I am at the computer messing around with thoughts and ideas about what words to share.

I haven’t decided yet if I’ll try to stand before those who join us and say something meaningful and significant.

Probably won’t know until the moment, it will be a game time decision during which I’ll see if I can come up with the big hit, big pass, big shot or whatever other sports analogy you might want to use.

What I want to do is something like this, but I won’t.

There is no time to put together a montage of pictures, videos and music for people to see today. Doesn’t mean I won’t do it for the family, but today it won’t happen.

That’s because for the moment the star in our sky has gone dark and we need time to reorient and readjust to our new reality.

Don’t Hit It Harder

A series of different songs play inside my head as I sit here, each trying to share some particular nugget of information or wisdom.

Still can’t decide what to say if I speak or if I should share a couple of clips from movies he introduced me to.

If I wasn’t three steps short of being on my game I would do a good job of telling you about how many projects we worked on together around the house.

I’d tell you how sometimes those bright blue eyes would go cold and icy when I’d intentionally be silly when he thought it was time to be serious.

You’d hear the story of ‘don’t hit it harder’ and how many times teenage Josh would be aggravated because he was right about how to do something I was certain I already knew.

I tested my will against his repeatedly and often came away frustrated thinking I was screaming at the mirror.

It wasn’t until after I became a father that I learned how frustrated he was too. As a teen it never occurred to me that he was as pained and or irritated by it all as me.

****

Somewhere around my 37th or 40th birthdays my father told me he didn’t worry about me as he once had.

That is not to say he didn’t worry but that he felt like I had mostly figured things out and that I would be ok.

There would be the usual bumps and bruises of life, but I would be ok because I had enough life experience to manage it.

I really appreciated his words.

Somewhere around my 45th I asked him if it really took that long for him to feel that way.

He laughed and said he never worried that I wouldn’t figure it out but said that some things couldn’t be understood and really managed until you experienced it.

That made sense to me. By the time we had that talk I was far from being a new father, had been a homeowner, professional etc.

****

Though we had plenty of battles during my childhood and teen years most of my adult life was pretty smooth with dad.

Especially after I had gained some seasoning and could speak from experience about being a father, husband, provider etc.

About a month after his pancreatic cancer diagnosis I flew out to LA to spend time with him and my mother.

If you didn’t know about his illness you wouldn’t have guessed it as he was still driving, walking around on his own and living a very normal life.

One night at the house he and I got into the first big argument we had had in years.

He blasted me and I gave it back.

I remember yelling as I hadn’t in decades and telling him that he was entitled to be wrong about whatever it was we disagreed about.

“Dad, you can yell louder and I won’t care because it won’t make your any less wrong.”

That is when I achieved expert level status at fighting with your father.

He got so angry that when he yelled he spit out his teeth.

That ended the fight.

I couldn’t stop laughing.

He sort of sputtered once at me and that was it.

We both had a good laugh at that moment in the time since.

Now it is just a story I can tell. Maybe it provides some insight into who we were together, maybe nothing.

I don’t know.

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