Archive for November, 2015

“In The Living Years”: Don’t Save It For The Grave!

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

The title of this writing is borrowed from a beautiful song that often causes my eyes to mist  when I hear it. The lyrics speak of a son and his father and how the son wishes he had told the father certain things “in the living years”. Some of the lyrics:

“I wasn’t there that morning when my Father passed away.                                                                                               I didn’t get to tell him all the things I had to say.

I think I caught his spirit later that same year.                                                                                               I’m sure I heard his echo in my baby’s new born tears.                                                                                            I just wish I had told him in the living years.

…It’s too late when we die. … Say it loud, say it clear”

(Mike and the Mechanics version. Hear it on You Tube)

It is important to tell the people we love how much we care and are appreciative of the affect they have on us. Too often these words are heard in the eulogies over caskets/ashes when the deceased can no longer hear them. It’s tough to hear from a Grecian urn!

My Father came down with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of fifty five and slowly lost life over the next twelve years. Before Alzheimer’s and after Alzheimer’s we never exchanged the words “I love you”. I wish we had. I own my part.

One Father’s Day when our children were teenagers I asked them to write on pieces of paper what kind of Father I had been. They filled two jars with loving comments, with the primary theme being, “Dad, you’re always there for us.” I choked up and a lot of tears flowed. What a gift!  Shortly afterwards I went to the phone and called my Mother. I told her that I wished my Dad was still alive so that I could tell him that I loved him. He did not get much love from his hard -nosed Greek immigrant Father, nor had he gotten it from me. I had just received a heavy dose from the kids and I wanted to share it with him.

I regret that he lost his life prematurely and that I was not attuned to give him more of myself. Though he wasn’t very present to my life in the early years due to the many hours he put in at work to provide for our family, he was a good man and impacted me well in many ways.


I am grateful that my Son and I have an awesome relationship. Recently he invited me to go on a Father-Son trip. He wanted to go to Madison, Wisconsin to see where I went to college and to Green Bay where I grew up. As part of that trip we would catch a couple of football games. Thus, we were able to see both the Badgers and Packers win. Of course we needed to celebrate with a few brats and beer as per Wisconsin tradition! A fun time “in the living years”!

Our family tells each other we love each other very often – at the end of every phone call and physical departure. Whenever the end of the “living years” comes for any of us, and may it be a long time from now, may the last words heard be “I love you!”

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates