Happy Birthday Dad!

I’ve been wrestling for a few days about just how I wanted to tackle this post. It’s a hard one to write, simply because this time of year is never an easy one for me. There was a part of me that wanted to solely go the route of expressing how much I miss my dad, and how I wish I could spend his birthday with him, and how not a day goes by where I’m not reminded of him or where it feels surreal that he’s not here anymore. Now, all of what I just said is true, but for once, I think I want to write something that speaks to who he was as a person and what was important to him. My dad’s birthday is today (April 21), and he would have been 62 if he was still with us on Earth. Do I think he was taken too soon? The selfish side of me says yes…the spiritual side of me knows that things could have gotten much worse for him had he stayed with us, so in that respect, I’m ecstatic that he’s not hurting anymore.

But I miss him.

Luckily, he gave me a gift from the day that I was born that will never leave me. It’s so much engrained into who I am as a person that I feel it is an integral part of my personality, and it has a hand in every single aspect of my life. The gift he gave me was the gift of music. Whether it was me having to hear him practicing songs on his bass for church on Sunday, or going with him to watch him perform with choirs, or singing in the car with him on the way to the grocery store, music was our thing. So on this day, on what would have been the beginning of the 62nd year of his life, I choose to celebrate him through song. There are so many songs that I learned through him, or that spark some memory of him when I hear it. There is one song that every single time I hear it, whether it be on my iPod, on the radio, or me randomly choosing to listen to it on YouTube, that feels like he is reaching down from the musician’s stand in Heaven to give me a hug. That song is The Gap Band’s “Yearning For Your Love.”

If you actually want to hear the song, click the link to go to YouTube — it won’t allow playback on the site.

Now, I have no recollection of the first time I heard that song, or even if my first time hearing it was with him, but no matter where I am, what I’m doing, who I’m with, or what’s going on, if I hear that song, I automatically feel at peace. I’m thankful every day that I had him in my life for the 16 years that he was with me, and that he passed on his genuine love for music and his talent down to me. Every time I hear a song with an amazing bass line, or a tenor that can really sing, or see someone playing a bass guitar or an alto saxophone, I’m reminded of my dad and just how much of an impact he still has on me to this day. It’s not an easy thing to realize that the only way I can tell him happy birthday is through my dreams and my thoughts, but this year, I choose to celebrate his life and his legacy. He left me with so many stories to tell my future children about who their grandfather was, and how awesome of a man he was.

To the best man I’ve ever had the Earthly privilege of knowing, I miss you. You live on in my heart and in my mind every day, and it is my earnest hope that I am making you proud down here. I wish I had one more conversation, one more hug, one more cheer from you in the back of the auditorium after concerts, one more ride down the highway listening to the radio together…I love you so much, and I take comfort in knowing that one day I’ll see you again, and we’ll get to do a whole lot of catching up. Happy Birthday Dad!

4.21.49 – 7.25.03

  1. Oh man I’m totally bawling right now.
    This was a beautiful post Laureeny. I love when you write and talk about your dad. He sounds like he was an amazing guy.
    In honour of your dad’s birthday I’m going to school myself on The Gap Band today….cause you KNOW I’ve never heard this song!
    Love you!

    • Awww, Maxie Poo I didn’t want you to cry! And yeah, he was pretty awesome, especially since he looks like me…;-)

      And yes, you must go school yourself on them! In honor of his birthday, I’m going to listen to 62 songs throughout the day that remind me of him, or that I know he liked…

      Love you too!

    • Cheekie
    • April 21st, 2011

    This was a beautiful post. I’m so glad you decided to write it because I know how hard it was for you. Hopefully it was therapeutic for you and I know for sure it’s a great way to honor Papa L Boogie.

    I definitely want to borrow your idea of “doing what I think he/she would’ve liked to do” for my own loved ones who are now gone. I can feel ya on this of course since I lost my father as well. My mother gave me his American flag (he was a Navy vet) and I cherish that thing because it’s so priceless to me. Still thinking about getting it framed. Also, my best/favorite token of his is the picture with he and my mama at their reception (with him lookin’ all sorts of debonair and my mama looking like Billie Holliday with a gardenia in her hair) *wistful sigh*

    *hugs for you*

    • It surprisingly was therapeutic…I won’t sit here and pretend like I’m in an overly chipper mood (because I’m not), but while I was writing last night, I was at peace.

      I got the idea from my mom — every year on my granny’s birthday, she bakes. And every year on July 4th (my great aunt’s birthday), I make it a point to have as much fun as I can because she would have wanted it that way…

      I cherish pictures so much, and the only tangible thing I have of my dad’s is his Rolex watch…other than that, it’s just pictures and memories…

    • keisha brown
    • April 21st, 2011

    *big hugs*

    i can only imagine how difficult this was to write, and applaud you for it as it’s the one topic i’ve never tackled out loud.

    i am so glad you took the route of honouring him the way you did – through music. we already know the power that music holds, and am so glad that you see it as a gift he gave you, one you will carry and cherish for life.

    *more big hugs*

    • sanen85
    • April 21st, 2011

    This was a very beautiful and moving post. I’m right smack in the middle of the day my mother passed and her birthday, so I’ve been thinking about her even more than I usually do. You’ve inspired me to get some of those thoughts and feelings out by writing about them. Thanks Laurenty.

    I think it’s so great that music is a way for you to still feel connected to your dad.

  2. This post was such a beautiful way to honor your dad. And what a lovely connection to have with him through music. Thank you for sharing your memory of him. It’s clear that he was an amazing person and awesome father. xoxo,Saks

  3. Right on!

  1. April 21st, 2011

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