Today marks Labor Day, a holiday made when workers in the United States often put in 12 hour shifts, seven days a week. Back when it was created, all workers were supposed to get a day off.

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Now, not so much. The holiday has become a boon for those in the service and tourism industries, as it is the unofficial end of summer.

For me, sometimes it’s just another day. But every once in while it’s a landmark day, as it falls on the day of my father’s birthday.

As mentioned before, my dad died a few years ago. I don’t remember the date, just the month and the year.

Even though it’s logical for parents to precede their children in death, some days it feels fresh and like a gut-punch.

Did I tell them enough how much I loved them? How much I appreciated all they did and didn’t do for me, which taught me some very important lessons in being an adult and in being a parent?

Dad with my youngest son.

Does he know his son and oldest grandson are a lot like him? One has his sense of humor. The other has a quiet seriousness that can be enlightening and scary.

He will never see all those cool highlights of life like graduation, weddings, births of great-grandchildren.

I miss his advice on taking care of vehicles and houses, parenting and cooking. I miss his nicknames for people and his laugh.

There are all kinds of manuals out there on how to deal with grief. You many feel prepared, but it’s not the same as dealing with the real thing. The feelings are different that you imagined. How you cope feels different than how the book describes it.

We honor the dead by living. To be honest, COVID and other life experiences pushed my “living” on the back burner for the past few years.

Time to get back to doing you proud, Dad.