The Love and Pride Of a Father

     As Father's Day approaches, my thoughts turn to my father who died 20 years ago in March.  After all these years, I still miss my dad and I still have regrets about our relationship.
     My dad was a very loving man although he was not always free at showing his feelings.  At least not directly.  He did often tell me of his love and showed his love as best he could.  The last time I saw him, about a month before his death, he walked me to my car as I was leaving and there, on the street, he gave me a hug and thanked me for the visit.  This was something he had never done.  I was surprised but I welcomed the public show of affection.  Little did I know that this would be the last time I would see him alive. 
     Dad would say that he loved me every once and a while and I always was surprised when did.  He also would put his arm around my shoulders as a show of affection.  He had various nicknames like "Old Chum", "M.S.D." (My Son Duane), etc. that he used often as terms of endearment.  I knew that I was loved but it took years to realize how much. 
     The one thing I never heard from my dad was that he was proud of me.  At least he never said those words directly to me.  When dad died, I swore on his grave that I would live to make him proud because I still wanted to hear those words.
     A few months after dad's death I watched a video that was taken at mom and dad's 50th anniversary celebration.  As I watched, I realized something.  Dad was often video taped talking about me.  He was telling people of my accomplishments, where I was living and working and that I done a lot of the preparation and planning of the celebration and program for the anniversary celebration.  In almost every scene of the video dad was telling people about me!  It was then that I realized that he really was proud of me!  I was shocked!  Dad might have never said those exact words to me but here, on the video, was the proof I needed to see, he was proud of me and all I had accomplished. It was just that I would never hear him say those words, "Son, I am proud of you".
     So, this Father's Day, if you are a father, tell your kids exactly how you feel.  Tell them you love them AND that you are proud of them.  And, if your father is still living, tell him exactly how you feel about him.  Talk to him about his life and find out everything you can about his past.  I wish that I had one more chance to talk to my dad and to tell him how much I love him and how proud I am to be his son.  Although, maybe he has already heard me.....   I know that I finally heard him!

Happy Father's Day!



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