On June 19, 2011, my dad was in a car accident and did not survive. It was Father’s Day. When I tell people this, I automatically feel the need to qualify the statement and curb their sympathy. “We weren’t very close – we would talk on the phone every few months and exchange birthday and Christmas cards.” But trying to make light of losing a parent doesn’t feel right either.
My dad was a very good man. He had his ghosts (don’t we all?), but you’d be hard pressed to find someone who was more respected than he was. He died with $47 dollars on his credit card and no other debt to speak of. His job title was “Cowboy,” and he was in the minority of people who do exactly what they want to do for a living. Other than his annual jaunts to Hawaii and his Sunday trips to nearby golf courses, he lived his life on the ranch.
One of the things that hurts my heart the most is that there is so much I didn’t learn about my dad until after he was gone. Why? Because I didn’t take the time to ask and listen. Coulda shoulda woulda. The holidays bring a pang of regret and sadness. I won’t be getting a Christmas Card from Mule Creek this year. I only wish I’d known the one I received a year ago would be the last – and perhaps the saddest part of all is that it takes losing someone to make me do and say the things that should have been happening all along.