The e-mail was an expression of feeling. What did our friendship mean to him. It wasn’t the stuff guys talk about often, if ever. I was extremely touched by it, but I never replied. To do it justice, I would need to spend some serious time in serious thought about it. He was my best man and my longest roommate during my bachelor years. Not an e-mail you can shoot off a quick reply to.
After all this time passed, I still haven’t replied. It reminded me of the post I wrote after our friend passed away. My inability to write the words about what people meant to me while they had the chance to read it. I’m still frozen, unable to reply to the oldest e-mail in my inbox.
Over 18 years ago, my father died. I wasn’t a teenager yet, my dad was sick for some time before his death and he never was one to deeply share his feelings, with me at least.
Now, as a father myself, that lack of sharing impacts me more than it did before Olivia was born.
Life is relationships. Every aspect of life is a puzzle piece of puzzle pieces that we measure, balance, compare, and connect to the other aspects of life. While difficult, being open with each other about the importance of these relationships should be more common place.
Many of us have a teacher, a mentor, a boss, a coworker, a friend, a coach that has profoundly changed our lives who, while we hope they realize their impact, may not. We shouldn’t let the chance to share that when we have it.
While I can’t have a talk with my father about what I meant to him, I can try to change that for my girls. Not only do I try to tell them directly, I am not naive enough to assume I’ll have the chance to have an adult relationship with them. To that end, I’ve started recording quasi-annual videos to each one, telling them their impact to me, my feelings about them, what about what they do now that I take note of. I don’t talk to them as the 6-year-old or 4-year old or 2-year old that they are, but rather, what would the 25-year old daughter of mine want to hear from their father if they couldn’t hear it directly from me.
I pray that this is all an “umbrella method”. If you bring your umbrella with you, it won’t rain. If you skip it, it’ll rain without doubt. I hope that by being so conscience of this now, these videos won’t be needed. I’ll be around long enough to where they won’t cherish them. If not, though, I can mitigate the impact in some very small way.