Today is April 2nd, a day that begins a three-month long reminder of a loss we experienced seven years ago. You see, 75 years ago today, my dad, George Myers, was born. Seven years ago today he celebrated his last birthday, his 68th. One month later, he lost his life after a long, long bout with diabetes, and then of course Father's Day in June marks the third and final day in these three months that we are reminded of his life, his death, and his legacy. Like the old saying goes, you never know what you've got till it's gone and that couldn't be truer than with my father. And I speak for my entire family when I say so.
Looking back on my dad's life, I can't help but think that overall it was a sad one. He immigrated to the United States at a young age, until that point raised by a single mother who ultimately tended to herself more than him. Dropping out of high school in the 10th grade, dad never really had the chance, nor the drive, to be successful. He found himself a father of six children, abandoned by the adoptive father who brought him here and gave him his name, always struggling to keep our heads above water, often resentful for it, and not often happy.
Many of his children, including me, became resentful towards him throughout much of our young lives. He shared a good relationship with no one really, not even mom, and this underscored an unhappy, underlying theme to all of our lives. Later on in life, his real struggles would begin when he was diagnosed with that insidious disease. For more than twenty years, my dad suffered through two rounds of dialysis, numerous surgeries and visits to the emergency room, a kidney transplant, and plenty of mental and physical pain. It was towards this end that many of us really began to realize why he was the way he was. He spent many of his final years in regret, I think, lamenting the isolation he'd created within his own family. After his death, the very depth of his being became clearer of all of us, and in the years since, we have all mourned him and missed him more than any of us ever thought we would.
Every time I look at myself in the mirror, I cannot help but see that I am his son. Our resemblance to one another is unmistakable. Perhaps being the first son and sharing such physical traits with him were the underlying reasons why I was the one who took on the brunt of his wrath during my growing years. Sometimes when I see his face in mine, I can't help but feel a twinge of all those years of conflict and I have to look away. I guess I'll never really rid myself of those younger, more difficult years with him. In a way, though, I think the life I've created for myself has been a positive result of our relationship, for I've always strived to be the antithesis of what he was. Still, I loved him and I do miss him. So for what it's worth, Happy 75th Birthday Dad!