May 15. Eight Years

My fingers tapped away at the keyboard working away on my latest recipe post. That is until photoshop presented me with this old photo of me with my G-Pa and a cousin.

This is one of the few remaining baby photos of me after our house burned down a few years ago. Thankful to find this gem from family on Facebook {of all places}. And while I've had this photo hanging on my desktop for a few weeks now as I debated where its home should be, last night was different. Something struck a chord with my heart.

I realized in that moment, it's May. The month he passed. And wouldn't you know, today marks eight years since our family lost a great man.

Eight years.

My Dad told me he'd passed as I was leaving the house to meet friends one afternoon. It was eight days before my high school graduation. I briskly walked to my car breathing deeper in every step. Thankful for sunglasses. I made it 6 of the 12 minute drive before losing the dam of tears. I had in fact just driven by my best friends who were hanging out the windows honking and waving to me. All that joy they had! It released my sadness.

Tears drowned the last six minutes of the drive to my friends house to which I got out of the car and collapsed in her driveway. His loss was the first I'd ever known so personally. Seventeen years old, eight days before high school graduation. I will always be indebted to that friend for her support that day. And even more so to the handful of amazing friends who appeared at his memorial mass later that week.

I'm thankful each day that I've not lost the memory of him, the way I remember him. He taught me to play Majong and Shanghai. He had a little medal we played "hide the medal" with for years. At one point that medal even fell off its spindle it'd passed through so many grandchildren (or one of us broke it, whatever). He loved Braves baseball and earned a Purple Heart in the Battle of the Bulge. He had eight children, 14 grandchildren and was happily married for 57 years.

He's always been a bit of a hero to me. Always will be. Today and fifty years from today.