It was my dad's birthday today. I was born just three days before him, my brother four days before. He had the same birthday as his best friend Kathleen Dameo (happy birthday dear lady!). His name was Ryz. He was born in a displaced persons camp in London after my grandparents had to leave their lives behind in Poland. They emigrated through Ellis Island and he didn't learn English until he was eight or so. He was crazy smart and got a perfect 1600 on his SATs and won five times on Jeopardy.
My dad was tall and had a loud, instantly-recognizable voice. He was good at darts. He loved his family, friends & dogs, the sport of rowing, drinking black coffee, dreaming up ways to serve people delicious food and perhaps the strangest of them all, musicals. He adored them and cried openly at the final numbers. He was emotional and sensitive like that.
So it made sense that this morning while taking Poncho for a jog, I would decide to listen to Hamilton and find my way to this last song, which made me cry as we ran.
The words felt so true to me. Who tells our story? What happens to our memory? Am I making the most of my life while I am alive? I don't have good answers to these questions but I'm ok to respect their power as a way to shape the quality of my life.
My dad died too young. He still had things he wanted to do. He worried that we would all be ok. I can't change any of this. But I can try to tell his story and perhaps refine my own story as I do. I can do the best I can to respect his memory and live on stronger because of it. I think he would want this.
So happy birthday dad! You're missed by us all and yet still here in so many sad and funny and remarkable ways.