The Fourth of July is a real blast for many of us, me included. That’s because it’s also my dad’s birthday, and even though he’s no longer with us, I intend to honor him every year with a cake and sparklers as part of my celebration of his life. Growing up, my dad always took us to watch the fireworks. I remember picking spots all over town–typically away from the crowds–where we could see the fantastic display of lights. Looking back now I realize he probably would have preferred to be doing dozens of other things on his birthday night, but he never let us know it. Even as he was fighting his cancer he joined my family at a fireworks display in my hometown just a couple years ago. And just last year, I spent the evening with him watching what we could see of the fireworks from a window in the hospital where he had to spend his final birthday. It’s bittersweet to celebrate now, while my heart still hearts, but I know he’d want us to enjoy the day. He’d also want us to reflect back on the memories of fireworks fun and a birthday for someone incredibly special that everyone always seemed to be celebrating.
(A special note from my mom who reminded me of my dad’s favorite saying: “I came into this world with a bang, I’ll go out with a bang.” He managed to make quite a bang while he was here!)