April 7, 2021
My dad passed away 45 years ago tomorrow. He was 53 -- one month shy of his 54th birthday. He died of a cardiac arrest on his way to an NRC's Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards meeting. He was a day late leaving for the meeting because he had driven me to and from Charlottesville to interview for a scholarship. I learned I had been awarded the scholarship the day after he died.
I always found it even more surreal that he died during Masters Week. He wasn't a golfer, but he did like going to the Masters. He was a big walker. The Masters was. a big deal when when I was a kid -- it has become a HUGE deal (obviously) today. I don't remember going to the tournament with him, although I am sure I did.
I hadn't looked at the photo above for many years. It is eerie how similar our smiles are. I don't think I had ever noticed that.
Lots of emotions. You don't lose your dad at 17 and not carry around your fair share of regrets, thoughts, feelings, etc. I never really got to know him. That's my biggest regret. I carried around for too long a lot of unrealistic/wrong ideas about what it was to be a man, a husband and a father based on.a child's perspective of what he had seen. And Lord knows, emulation based on observation (is that redundant?) is not the best way to develop a set of skills!
I have lived my life with the goal of not dying as young as my dad did. I met that goal. But the shock of surviving at 58 the same event that killed him is not lost on me. I try not to waste the bonus time that I've been given and that he did. not get.
Not sure how proud he would have been of how I turned out; I stopped thinking about that a few years ago. I do know that he would have loved his grandkids.
Well, this was an exhausting post to write.