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What I learned from a soldier

In Memory of my father, Don Everett  (9/1/1935 – 1/9/2008)

What I learned from a soldier…

About strength
It’s okay to cry…

About caring
Take your vitamins… Stay away from dark alleys… Watch your back… I love you…

About illness
I’m so sorry you’re sick… I’m very concerned… Have you been eating right? Taking your vitamins? 

About traveling
Check your tire pressure, and fluids, your oil, before hitting the road… You have that survival kit I put in your glove compartment?

About food
Appreciate every meal… Eat with gusto and thank the cook… 

About “KP duty”
Washing dishes… Use steaming hot water, as hot as you can stand it…  

About music
Whistle while you work… Here’s a clean towel… Let’s dry’em and put’em away

About necessities
Be grateful for what you have… Take good care of your things and they’ll last… When I was your age, I had only two pair of pants… 

About repair (taking care of things)
(Unfolding his military sewing kit) You should know how to sew on a button… And thread a needle… Lick the thread, like this… 

About unruly hair
It just needs a good spit-shine… 

About difficulties in life
Stick-to-itiveness, grit…

About Grits
Yes Sir, creamy with cheese… 

About hiking in the woods
Find a good walking-stick… 

About building…if you’re gonna build it
A hip roof, in a hurricane, is preferable to a gable…

About running for office and public speaking
Be sure and say this part slowly: I am in the third grade, pod-E, and I am running for vice-president. Be clear or (already laughing) they’ll think you’ve said…  

About humor
I am in the third grade potty

About respect
Remember the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you…

About learning
Never stop… 

About cancer
I don’t have time for this… I still have a lot to do… We’ve cried, now let’s eat. Pass the grits…  

About grief
No… Not this child… (No words can describe his broken spirit)

About joy
You’ll find joy again… Some day, you will, he told me…

About death
Fighting long enough… Now resting…

About love
It continues… I love you, Dad…

I learned from your tireless and soldierly spirit about tenacity, strength, hope, curiosity, humor, hard work, gratitude, virtue, practicality, and the importance of living, loving, and learning…

I am living, Dad, and learning. Continuing. I still have a lot to do. I’ve been so busy. You’d be excited about my plans. I’m getting my Real Estate license. That’s right! I finally learned what a hip roof is. I knew you’d be proud. I’m taking the test today, Dad. Be with me. Wish me luck. This 50-year-old brain is struggling with finance formulas and contract law. But I know I can do it. Because now, I am you.

Dad, me, baby Sam
Dad, me, baby Sam, 1998

Sequel:  (one week later)
Dad…I did it. I passed the state exam! And I got to see you last night in a dream. Your smile. And that hug… Thanks, Dad. I’m on my way…

Categories: Rewriting Life After Loss

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Rewriting life since the sudden death of my nine-year-old son, Sam (2007).
Trying to LEARN, think, remember, IMAGINE, cope, care, read, EAT, write, live, LAUGH, listen, enjoy, walk, meditate, stretch, watch, stop, BREATHE...and keep going.

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