Jan 27, 2023Liked by Kyle Ranson-Walsh

Beautifully written. I learned so much about you and your dad!

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Jan 27, 2023Liked by Kyle Ranson-Walsh

Beautifully written! I learned a lot.

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Isn't it great how kids recognize what's fair and what's not? What an important and big object lesson to learn to accept that, sometimes, life's not fair.

When my cousin's son was in 4th grade, he complained to his mom that life wasn't fair. At 9 years old, his life depended on dialysis. All he wanted was to be a "normal" kid. His mother responded by telling him, "Life's not fair. You'd better get used to that." That's a very tall order for a 9 year old! A few years later, his mother needed dialysis. Like your dad, my cousin taught by example. In doing so, she attracted people to her like a magnet, much like your dad.

How do we accept that, sometimes, life's not fair? How do we teach our kids and others? Tough question. If you find an answer to that one, please let me know.

It wasn't fair that your dad was sick for so long and that you and your family lost him when you and your daughter were still so young.

Anniversaries tend to be emotionally challenging yet also times to reflect and grieve. Like love, grieving never ends. Sometimes, they can be joyful, recalling good memories, seeing reflections of your dad in you, your brother and your daughter. I feel privileged to have read your thoughts and feelings here as well as to have known you, your dad and the rest of your family. Thank you for sharing them here.

One thing your dad and mine had in common were both were playful -- lots of fun and plenty of humor. Like you, I was very close to my dad and he died when I was in my early 30s. He was old -- 84. When he died, my first thought was that it wasn't fair that my much older siblings had lived for 17 and 19 years longer than I had with him in their lives. Yet, in some ways, my dad and I were closer than they were to him.

What I experienced when my dad died was unforgettable. Although I was not in the room with him, I could feel his death happening. At first, it felt crushing. Then, suddenly, it was as if I were experiencing what he was experiencing, which makes me understand why Steve Jobs said, "Oh, wow. Oh, wow, Oh, wow." when he died.

My dad used to say that, when he died, I'd see lights across the sky. He was a professional musician, champion ballroom dancer and professional magician in addition to barber. He told a lot of stories. Did he really save everyone from the whale while traveling by boat from Italy? It wasn't until I was 18 years old that I realized that wasn't true. Did he really hold the Hope diamond in his hand? I'll probably never know. But, that evening, several hours after he'd died, while taking my dog outside in my back yard, staring blankly at the horizon, taking in how everything suddenly felt so different, I saw lightning flash across the sky. It was a grey March evening with no rain, no thunder. I felt a return of that same, "Oh, wow," feeling I'd felt hours before. Lightning flashed across the sky again. Then, to be totally honest, I started to feel a bit creeped out. It stopped. My dog and I went inside.

I remember your dad telling me he'd had an unexplainable experience before he died. He never talked about it beyond that. But, because of what I experienced when my dad died and what your dad experienced, I don't believe they're completely gone. I'll never be able to prove that. As my Italian grandmother -- my father's mother -- told me a few days before she died, as I tried to talk with her about what she'd been experiencing as she went in and out of consciousness, "It's faith. You're not supposed to know." If that's the bottom line, then maybe that's as good as it gets. And, if that's true, then maybe it's not quite so unfair.

I love how you included lyrics to songs in your post. My favorite, which I shared when a friend died several years ago, is James Taylor's "You Can Close Your Eyes" -- especially this part, which feels so right for your dad and mine --

It won't be long before another day

We gonna have a good time

And no one's gonna take that time away

You can stay as long as you like

Sending love to wonderful you and your wonderful family -- including your wonderful dad. xoxo


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