My father died 34 years ago today. I can remember getting a visit from our leading chief at the Naval Dispensary where I worked at the time. I was twenty years old and over a thousand miles from home. I was lucky. I wasn’t in a war zone like some of today’s twenty year olds are. Hearing about the death of your father can be a traumatic experience. I wasn’t totally surprised by the news. My Dad had been sick for a number of years prior to his death. At the time the autopsy showed that he died of pulmonary emboli. Though I was a US Navy Hospital Corpsman at the time, I’d never heard of that diagnosis before. Someone had to explain to me that my Dad had suffocated due to tiny clots in his lungs. I survived a similar event not quite two years ago. Medicine has improved a lot in the last three decades.
Shortly after I woke up this morning I sat in lacing up my running shoes and looking at pictures of our family. I looked at our two children and thought of how proud Dad would have been of them. He was only forty-six when he died. That seemed old to a twenty year old in 1973, but seems young to a fifty-four year old now. He missed a lot of good things that happened in the last thirty-four years. I thought too of how much differently my life would have turned out were he still alive. My mother would not have re-married and I wouldn’t have the other cool brothers and sisters in our present family. Though I miss my Dad I’m glad that I had another Dad and I got to have more brothers and sisters as a result of his early death.