This past Father's Day weekend provided an opportunity to reflect upon loss, love, and the relationship between a father and a son. Sunday was my first Father's Day since losing my dad this past New Year's Eve. I spent many Father's Days with him and my stepmother down in Alva, OK since moving back to [...]

This past Father's Day weekend provided an opportunity to reflect upon loss, love, and the relationship between a father and a son.
Sunday was my first Father's Day since losing my dad this past New Year's Eve. I spent many Father's Days with him and my stepmother down in Alva, OK since moving back to the Great Plains almost 20 years ago. We would have a meal, followed by pie, often coconut cream, and then we would visit, which usually meant I would listen to him talk about his latest project/scheme or perhaps a story from his life experiences, usually related to work. My father was a great storyteller, and I'll miss that. He knew how to tell a story. He also knew how to get himself out of a bind, which he seemed to often find himself in over the course of his life. It would typically be related to a business or other financial dealing. Somehow, he always seemed to make it work, just like some quarterback throwing a Hail Mary pass, successfully, as the seconds ticked off the game clock.
But it wasn't to be this time. This time he wasn't the one in charge of the final outcome.
My father and I had a complicated relationship at times, as I suspect is often the case between fathers and son of his and my generation. It seemed like we often missed each other. When I went looking for him at the place where someone told me he was, I often discovered he had just left before I arrived. We did talk, especially in his later years, but I regret that we never had any conversations where we came to know each other on a deeper level, beyond father and son. At times, we would both begin to build a bridge across to the one on the other side, but we just never seemed to finish it. We came close sometimes, but he had his world, and I had mine.
Still, he loved me, and I knew it. He was proud of me. I read just that in a birthday card he gave me years ago and which I re-discovered this past Father's Day. One thing that I will always be grateful for is the last conversation we had before I headed back to Kansas, two days before he died, from the hospital in Oklahoma City.
'I love you, dad,' I told him, hugging him.
'I love you too, son,' he replied.
In the end, isn't that what really matters? Isn't that what lasts?