He would have been 69 today. Mom would be making him a German chocolate cake and topping it with the same frosting recipe and ceramic Santa that has graced his cakes (both of which are from his Grandma) since he was a child. I’d have to not talk about the fact that I had my Christmas tree up before his birthday to keep him from teasing me about it. I’d have struggled for weeks thinking of something to get the man who works harder than anyone I’ve ever know, and has everything he wants and needs for his birthday – a little over a week away from Christmas.
But things are different now. He will have been gone 4 years next month – the same month that the family farm, that is now in our hands, turns 132 years old. We will still share his favorite German chocolate cake and celebrate him in every way we can now. He may not be here physically but I guarantee he has never left our side since he was called home. He is here every single day as we step into our uncharted waters. If we’re quiet enough, we can hear him teasing us, and cheering us on every step of the way.
I choose to look at life’s heartbreaks as God shaping me into the person I need to be for whatever is coming our way. I wouldn’t have done SO many things I’ve done the last 4 years if Dad were still here – I mean, not to brag, but I can back a truck and trailer now like a BOSS…or maybe more like a general manager? Of course, I’d trade that knowledge and experience back in a heartbeat for more time to make even more memories with him. But when you’re faced with a loss that you know will absolutely wreck you, think of what that person would want for the remainder of your life. Push through that rubble of what’s left of the life you thought you’d have, and build something even more beautiful than before with all those broken pieces. Push through these hard times and let the thought of that moment when you see them again light a fire inside you. Make them proud in everything you do, and anticipate the exact words you’ll hear from them as they hug you once again!
To celebrate his birthday, could I ask you to look around you in the next few days for someone that might need a little bit of a hand-up, or even just a kind word or a genuine “how are you”? He was always the first to lend a helping hand – which he learned from his parents, and in his memory, I would love for you to take that spirit into the next few days and bless someone around you with even the simplest act.