My dad died the day I learned I made Phi Beta Kappa, two weeks before college graduation. I drove to New Jersey, stunned and confused. His heart had just stopped; he ate lunch, got up from the table and went to the living room to read while my mom cleared the dishes. She heard a funny noise and looked around the corner to his favorite chair and he was gone. Just like that.
Everyone says that’s the way to go but he was only 66. My sister and I feel like we’re living with a time bomb. Do we have our mother’s genes and look forward to another 30 years of relatively healthy life? Or do we have Dad’s, with a heart that’s about to hit its expiration date?
I want to feel that I live each day with no regrets, that I spend each hour as if it’s my last but truth be told I spend these days annoyed, anxious, worried and stressed. And I can feel how bad it is for my heart.
Today is my dad’s birthday. He would have been 101. He died 34 years ago and I miss him every day. Still.
I’m going to crack open a beer and sit outside and make this day count. Wherever you are, whatever you’re up to, do the same. Life is short.